In recent years, the Canadian government has stated that improving relations with Asia is not just a choice or an option, but a national imperative. This prioritization of Asia has been accompanied with a strong focus on enhancing economic ties between Canada and key partners in the region. However, when we compare Canada’s trade architecture and cultural linkages with Asia to that of Australia (a similar economy in terms of size, demographics, and types of exports), we see Canada is far behind the Oceanic nation.
Australia may be benefiting from a closer geographic proximity to the Asia Pacific and an earlier realization of a national imperative to integrate with the region, but Canada cannot use this as an excuse when our market share of imports with key Asian economies slowly decreases at the same time as Australia’s share increases.
Canada not only has to make up ground to be on equal footing with Australia, but if we want to strengthen our global position, we will have to go beyond Australia to make or presence felt in Asia.