Ministers Nicholson and Fast Announce New Appointments to APEC Business Advisory Council

February 20, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today announced the appointments of Suzanne M. Benoît and Deborah Close, as well as the reappointment of Philip Leong, as Canada’s representatives to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

They will play a key role in representing the interests of the Canadian business community to business and political leaders throughout the Asia-Pacific region. ABAC provides a crucial interface between Canadian business leaders and their counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region, enabling dialogue on issues related to trade and economic cooperation.

Canada’s active and growing trade and investment ties in the Asia-Pacific region will be well served by having these three representatives as our members on the council. The Government of Canada is committed to deepening our trading relationship with the APEC countries as part of our efforts to create jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers and their families.

Quick Facts

  • ABAC reports annually on private sector recommendations to leaders. The 2014 report, released in June, highlights the importance of commitment to the “Bogor Goals” of free and open trade by 2020 to ensure that APEC growth and prosperity ambitions are met.
  • ABAC is the sole non-governmental entity that has an official role in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit through a formal dialogue.
  • Collectively in 2013, APEC economies generated 57.4 percent of world gross domestic product and made up 39.9 percent of the world’s population. In 2014, APEC also made up 84.1 percent of Canada’s merchandise trade, and included four of Canada’s top five trading partners: the United States, China, Mexico and Japan.
  • APEC economies contributed 58.1 percent of all foreign direct investment into Canada in 2013, and 51.9 percent of Canada’s foreign direct investment was directed to those economies in the same year.


“I welcome the appointments of Suzanne Benoît and Deborah Close and the reappointment of Philip Leong. With the Philippines as this year’s APEC chair, Canada looks forward to building an inclusive economic environment across the Asia-Pacific that will have tangible effects on the lives of all our peoples.”

– Rob Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Our government knows the importance of reaching beyond our borders for economic opportunities, creating jobs and prosperity for all Canadians. The APEC Business Advisory Council is a strategic tool to promote and deepen Canada’s trade interests in the Asia-Pacific region, and I look forward to working with our representatives in helping Canadian businesses expand and succeed in these high-growth markets.”

– Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

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