An Asia Strategy Would Boost Canada’s International Standing, According to APF Canada Poll

Vancouver, B.C. – June 2, 2011 – A new survey published today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada found that 70% of Canadians engaged in the region believe Canada’s influence in Asia has been on the decline over the past decade. In absence of a well-defined Asia strategy, Canada’s position in the region risks further erosion.

The latest Points of View Asia-Pacific (POV) opinion poll looked at the various aspects of an international strategy focused on Asia. Eighty-six percent of respondents to a March 2011 POV opinion poll identified an Asia strategy as the top policy priority for Ottawa.

Poll results released today show that a significant majority of Asia practitioners believed that developing a Canadian strategy on Asia would enhance Canada’s reputation not only in the region (94%), but also on the world stage (86%). Fully 87% of those surveyed felt that an international strategy for Asia should be at the centre of Canadian policy rather than treated as a niche activity in a few line departments. Respondents did not think that placing a strategic focus on Asia would risk losing influence with the United States (only 13% agreed). On the contrary, a significant majority felt that a more actively engaged Canada in Asia would enhance our relevance and standing with the United States (74%).

“Canadians with direct professional interests in Asia are calling for leadership from the Government of Canada,” said Mr. Yuen Pau Woo, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. “80% of respondents believe a more coherent and well-defined Asia strategy will make a difference to their own work in the region.”

To that end, some key priorities signaled by Asia practitioners include:

• Bilateral Relations: 95% prioritize China, India (87%), and Japan (77%). The pursuit and completion of Free Trade Agreements with specific countries in the region was highlighted.

• Regional Relations: 78% believe the Canadian government should place a high priority on regional institutions in Asia. Respondents identified G20 (76%), APEC (74%), and ASEAN (64%) as the top three multilateral institutions to give priority to.

• The top three policy actions for Asia include: a) strengthening education linkages; b) encouraging Asian companies to station regional head offices in Canada; c) promoting public education policy on Asia and Asian languages.

The survey, which gathered views from 198 members of the Points of View Asia-Pacific opinion panel noted Canada’s top three selling features in Asia are a) a hub for international education (88%); b) a rich resource base (87%); c) “energy superpower” status (82%).

The full survey results on the dimensions, value, and impact of a Canadian strategy on Asia, can be viewed by clicking here.

The Points of View Asia-Pacific is an opinion panel of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada comprised of 620+ individuals who are connected to or engaged in Asia through professional interests. It is a unique medium through which Canada’s growing community of Asia practitioners can voice their opinions and views on policy issues of the day that relate to Canada’s relations with Asia. Surveys on issues related to Canada-Asia relations will be issued on a bi-monthly basis. Data was collected between May 5-17, 2011; a total of 198 people completed the survey questionnaire. The response rate for this survey was 32%. The margin of error for the total sample of 198 is ±6.9%, 19 times out of 20.

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About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada’s Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors.

For additional information, please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-630-1540
Email: trang.nguyen@asiapacific.ca

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