Enhancing MSME Participation in ASEAN Regional and International Trade

On behalf of Cowater International and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada has implemented a technical assistance project for ASEAN Member State and Secretariat trade policy officials to understand and learn from the Canadian approach to micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) participation in trade.

This technical assistance project is funded by Global Affairs Canada through the Expert Deployment Mechanism for Trade and Development. 

This technical assistance project has two deliverables:

  1. Report: Enhancing MSME Participation in ASEAN Regional and International Trade

As Canada and ASEAN proceed with negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA), enhanced commercial relations create new potential market opportunities that need to be supported by more predictable and transparent conditions in which businesses can operate. This report discusses the Canadian approach to promoting the participation of MSMEs in trade through its free trade agreements and the key gender equity and social inclusion considerations when including MSMEs in trade agreements. Read the report.

Also included within the report annexes are several additional resources for policy-makers, including:

  1. A Checklist for Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Frameworks
  2. A Summary of Key MSME Provisions in Canadian Bilateral Trade Agreements
  3. An Overview of MSME Provisions in ASEAN Trade Agreements
  4. Additional MSME Learning Resources
  5. Technical Definitions of MSMEs in ASEAN

A list of Canada and ASEAN’s Free Trade Agreement provisions for MSMEs is also available. Access the excel file.

  1. Workshop: Canada-ASEAN MSME Promotion in Trade

On May 12 2022, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada hosted a workshop on Canada-ASEAN MSME Trade Promotion to discuss Canada’s approach toward the inclusion of MSMEs in FTAs, and how ASEAN Member States may integrate similar approaches into their MSME and trade policies.   


The workshop featured three presentations on Canada’s approach to promoting MSME participation in trade through its FTAs, Canadian policies and programs that promote MSME participation in trade, and the specific challenges in trade faced by MSMEs that are owned by women, Indigenous peoples, and other underrepresented groups.

Watch the workshop video recording here.

Access the workshop presentation slides here.

If you have any questions regarding these resources, please contact the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada at info@asiapacific.ca