Remarks at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Thailand
I just wrapped up my participation in a leaders meeting in the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum here in Bangkok. This was an opportunity to connect with other leaders from governments and businesses from around the world. It’s important for Canada to be here, to deepen our trade ties in this region, which is a major part of our upcoming Indo-Pacific strategy. More trade, more market access means more good jobs for Canadians and a stronger middle class. Just like we did during the ASEAN and G20 summits, we continue to demonstrate that Canada is a reliable and stable country to do business with. We have a diverse and growing economy, we have a skilled workforce and we have strong trading relationships around the world, including the CPTPP, which benefits many of our APEC partners from Pacific nations.
The Indo-Pacific economic region is experiencing the fastest growth in the world. That means enormous potential for Canada, for workers, entrepreneurs and for the growth of the middle class. As Minister Ng mentioned, we will be launching a series of trade missions in the Indo-Pacific and will increase Canada’s economic presence in the region with more people working in the field, in our embassies and our missions. This work will generate more business opportunities for exporters and innovators who will be able to create jobs and prosperity at home.
Indo-Pacific economies are growing faster than almost anywhere else on Earth and with it, so grows their need for food, agriculture, and fisheries. Today we're announcing that we’ll establish our first ever agricultural office in the Indo-Pacific. Canadian farmers are proud to feed the world. This new office will make sure that our agricultural products, known for their quality, reach new markets and feed this region’s growing population. The need for clean energy and green infrastructure is also growing at a rapid pace here in the Indo-Pacific. As the world moves towards net zero. There is enormous potential to grow our ties in the natural resources sector. Canada is stepping up to be the reliable energy and technology supplier that a net zero world will need. For example, in just the last year, we've gone from fifth in the world to second in the world when it comes to the battery supply chain. To keep us moving forward, we're investing in our natural resource trade ties with Indo-Pacific partners. We’ll boost our exports of critical minerals and hydrogen and we’ll share our clean tech expertise. By meeting the demand for clean energy here in the Indo-Pacific, we’re seizing opportunities for our workers and businesses in order to create more good middle class jobs and economic growth.
From economic and energy security in the Indo-Pacific, to peace security, today we witnessed yet another reckless ballistic missile test from North Korea that has landed off the shores of Japan. This is completely unacceptable and must not continue. This afternoon, I had a meeting with Vice President Harris and the prime ministers of Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. We’re committed to promoting peace, stability, and the rules-based order in the north Pacific and across the region. All global partners have a role to play. The Canadian Armed Forces are already working side by side with defence partners through, for example, Operation Neon, which helps enforce UN sanctions against North Korea. In our upcoming Indo-Pacific strategy, you’ll see that we’ll be making new investments to enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’ engagement in the region. This will support our allies, Japan and South Korea and all of us in the Pacific.
In an uncertain world, this was an important week for Canada’s economic interests and for many other issues that matter to people. At the ASEAN summit, we announced that we’ll elevate Canada’s relationship with ASEAN to a strategic partnership. This is a strong demonstration of our engagement in the region, and it’s part of our plan to expand and deepen our economic ties. What this means is that countries here with major populations and economies will increasingly look to Canada for business and investment partnerships. At the G20, where the world’s biggest economies gathered, I again strongly condemned Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. We announced another round of military aid for Ukrainians. In my many conversations with world leaders, I discussed priorities like defending human rights in the Indo-Pacific and other parts of the world, such as Iran. We also announced new investments to fight climate change and build sustainable infrastructure, for example, to help countries get off coal power and transition to clean energy. During all these summits, including here at APEC, we focused on partnerships to create good jobs for Canadian workers and more opportunities for businesses. Canada and the Indo-Pacific share strong ties between our peoples, and we’ll keep working to make sure these ties get even stronger. Canada is a reliable, engaged and long-term partner in the region, ready to invest for a better future for everyone.
While we’re in the Indo-Pacific to create jobs and opportunities for Canadians, we are also continuing our work in Canada to help people who are the most affected by the increased cost of living. Our government will help eligible parents to pay for their children’s dental care by up to $650 annually over two years. The bill has now been adopted, and applications will start being processed effective December 1st. And under our comprehensive plan to make housing more affordable, we will also provide an additional $500 in assistance to those struggling to pay their rent.
I want to end by talking about what we're doing right now to help Canadian families pay the bills and support their families. Our government’s legislation to help parents pay dental expenses for their kids, with up to $650 in support per year for two years has passed through all stages in Parliament. Applications for the benefit are starting December 1st. Through the same legislation, our government is also delivering payments of an extra $500 for people who are struggling with the cost of rent. This is part of our plan to make life more affordable for Canadians. We've already doubled the GST credit for six months and have enhanced the Canada’s Workers Benefit. We’ll continue being there for people who need it the most. Across the country, childcare is becoming more affordable. For example, last year we announced an agreement to make childcare more affordable for parents in Nunavut with $10 childcare by 2024, and today we have some very good news. We’re way ahead of schedule as $10 a day licensed childcare in Nunavut will be a reality as of December 1st, in just a few weeks and families right across the country are already feeling the impact of childcare fees cut in half, this year.
We are delivering real results for families and workers, and we will continue to be there for all Canadians. Tonight, I’m travelling to Tunisia for the Francophone Summit where Francophone countries gather to address the pressing issues before us. Canada will be a strong voice for democracy and human rights and, of course, the promotion of the French language. In addition, we will continue with the work that we’re doing here on the economic plan. In each of our conversations, we will identify new opportunities for job creation and increasing trade to benefit our Canadian companies and workers.