Very much, indeed.
We talk a lot about CETA and obviously provisional applications, so we know that this is coming.
As I said, Asia-Pacific is obviously engaging very constructively with.... Canada, I think, was one of the leaders in these discussions to make sure that countries would recommit to open and rules-based trade in that part of the world.
We mentioned Japan. We said that we would be happy to restart a bilateral.
There is also ASEAN, which is obviously a very big grouping in that region. As you know, my predecessor had asked for a preliminary feasibility study. I have been pushing. Canada is more than ready to go ahead. It seems that the institute that has been tasked by ASEAN may need a bit of support, so I have been talking to the Philippines and Singapore to try to ask them to be our ally in pushing the issue a bit. We want that study to be done very quickly because I would like to start engaging with ASEAN. Obviously this is an essential step that was put into the process, which we are very much.... I have discussions with my counterparts every time, asking them to try to make sure that on their side they put in the resources needed to go to that feasibility study.
If I have a few seconds, Chair, I would say that as you may have seen, the Pacific Alliance has also mentioned recently that they would have a tiered approach. Canada was first, but they are looking at a potentially different level of integration, so we're in discussions with them.
We are also, as you would expect, in contact with the Mercosur countries to make sure that we are engaging, to see where we could push.
My premise, capacity being available, is that for us, we need to be in pretty much.... The point you touched on is diversification. This is what I wake up and say every morning, “How can we diversify our market and touch on different files that we are facing now?” For me, diversification is key. Every time I think there is a net benefit for Canadians, I am willing to engage constructively, as I said, whether it's with China, Japan, or in the South American region.
I just came back...with the free trade agreement we have with Chile and the modernization. Everywhere we can, where it makes sense for us, we want to engage proactively and constructively but also take a leading role as we've been doing in Chile.
Definitely the key is diversification. We're looking east, west, and south to make sure that we can open as many markets as possible for SMEs, with a focus on making it work for workers, but also for SMEs, which have the biggest potential, in my view. If we can engage SMEs, an under-represented group in trade, we will have achieved something great for Canada.