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Trudeau off to Asia in pursuit of trade deals

Indonesia, Singapore and India on the itinerary during trip that includes G20 summit
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with a family as he visits Springridge Farm in Milton, Ont., Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is headed to Asia next week for a whirlwind tour of Indonesia, Singapore and India.

The trip involves the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi, and a focus on economic ties in booming regions of Southeast Asia, as Canada seeks alternatives to a rising China.

In Jakarta, Trudeau will attend a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, where the group of 10 countries that will ratify a strategic-partnership agreement with Canada.

The next stop in Singapore will involve meeting with the city-state’s head of government and business leaders to promote investment in Canada and Canadian exports.

Trudeau will then attend the G20 summit where he plans to focus on collaboration on climate change, reforming international finance for poorer states and energy security.

A news release suggests Trudeau is slated to spend just two days in each country, with a focus on boosting trade and affordability.

Ottawa is in negotiations for separate trade agreements with India, Indonesia and also ASEAN as a bloc.

At the G20, the Liberals say Trudeau will advocate for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine, yet many members of the Group of 20 have opted against criticizing Moscow.

“Working collaboratively to tackle global crises while holding Russia accountable is essential to maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of the G20,” a Wednesday news release from Trudeau’s office says.

The summit’s host, India, has been reluctant to discuss the issue in other G20 events this year, and declined request from countries like Canada to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attend the summit.

The Liberals are framing the trip around their Indo-Pacific strategy, which they released in November 2022 with the goal of seeking closer economic and defence ties with countries other than China.

Trade Minister Mary Ng is set to accompany Trudeau on the Indonesia and Singapore legs of his trip, but not in India.

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