The Indo-Pacific Strategy: Tech and Security Highlights

The Government of Canada recently released its strategy for the Indo-Pacific. Encompassing 40 economies, over four billion people and $47.19 trillion in economic activity, it is the world’s fastest growing-region and home to six of Canada’s top 13 trading partners. The Indo-Pacific region represents significant opportunities for growing the economy here at home, as well as opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses.

An Overview

Today, the Indo-Pacific makes up more than one-third of all global economic activity. It includes three of the world’s largest economies—the People’s Republic of China (China), India and Japan. By 2040, the region will account for more than half of the global economy, or more than twice the share of the United States.

The region’s economic dynamism and population growth are driving demand in many sectors in which Canada has a global reputation for excellence. In the infrastructure sector alone, there is an estimated $2.1 trillion opportunity for strategic investments and partnerships. Seizing these strategic opportunities will help safeguard Canada’s economic security, build our future prosperity and help create good, well-paying jobs.

The strategy outlines 5 interconnected strategic objectives:

  1. Promote peace, resilience and security;
  2. Expand trade, investment and supply chain resilience;
  3. Invest in and connect people;
  4. Build a sustainable and green future; and
  5. Canada as an active and engaged partner to the Indo-Pacific.

Tech and Security Overview

At the domestic level, Canada will continue to strengthen the defence of our infrastructure, democracy and Canadian citizens against foreign interference. This includes reviewing, modernizing and adding new provisions to the Investment Canada Act that protect our national interests, as well as acting decisively when investments from state-owned enterprises and other foreign entities threaten our national security, including protecting Canadian intellectual property and research; pushing back against any form of foreign interference on Canadian soil; and strengthening our cyber security systems. This incudes from threats to our critical minerals and supply chains.

While remaining consistent with our One China Policy, Canada will continue our multifaceted engagement with Taiwan, which includes collaborating on technology and countering disinformation.

Areas of collaboration include opportunities in artificial intelligence, cyber security, and trade corridor infrastructure. New opportunities will be opened for security cooperation, including through the negotiation of a General Security of Information Agreement with Japan and, in the future, with the Republic of Korea.

Emerging security challenges and supply chain disruptions highlight the need to collaborate on enhancing economic security. Areas of collaboration include opportunities in artificial intelligence, cyber security, energy infrastructure and energy export, critical minerals and electric vehicle battery supply chains. Specifically, as part of its Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada will:

  • Strengthen critical minerals, hydrogen and clean energy sources, positioning Canada as a responsible and reliable energy security partner, by engaging on new opportunities presented by Japan and the Republic of Korea’s increased demand.
  • Work together with the Republic of Korea in support of resilient supply chains, the supply of critical minerals and high labour conditions and environmental protections, including the transition to clean energy.

Tech and Security - Objectives and Initiatives

  • Increase resources devoted to protecting Canadians from attempts by foreign states to influence them covertly or coercively.
  • Bolster Canada’s capacity to collect, develop and provide timely intelligence, analysis and assessment to meet national security needs and provide foresight analysis and early warning against threats, such as foreign interference, hostile activities by state actors and economic-based national security threats emanating from the region.
  • Build capacity in the region by dedicating new funding for cooperation, including cyber-crime.
  • Detect and respond to increasing cyber security threats originating in the region, including malicious activity targeting businesses, industry and infrastructure, and threats to democracy posed by online disinformation campaigns and surveillance technology, including online attacks targeting civil society and human rights defenders.
  • Increase investment to protect Canada’s innovation and knowledge economy from intellectual property theft.
  • Strengthen Canadian economic security in reinforcing the Investment Canada Act to defend our national interests, oversee stronger enforcement and add more precautions to protect intellectual property and Canadian research.
  • Work with partners to develop digital infrastructure, promote interoperability and promote coherent regulations affecting the Internet, the digital economy and trust and security in the use of information and communications technology; this will enhance cooperation on standards, norms and regulations that will benefit Canada, the Indo-Pacific region and rules-based trade.
  • Strengthen Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation partnerships with key economies, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Singapore and Taiwan, to support international co-innovation projects and commercialization-oriented research and development partnerships for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses with Indo-Pacific partners.
  • Join the Digital Economic Partnership Agreement with Singapore, New Zealand and Chile while securing a cultural-industries exception for the Canadian cultural sector.
  • Bolster visa-processing capacities in key locations in the region to ease access for students and family members; this initiative will enhance visa-processing capacity within Canada’s centralized network, as well as abroad.

Clean Tech

  • Position Canada to be a reliable supplier of clean energy in the region—and in a net-zero-emissions economy—including critical minerals and hydrogen, to fight climate change, be an energy security partner and support global climate goals.
  • Boost commercial demonstration of Canadian clean technology in priority Indo-Pacific markets and help Canada’s clean technology small and medium-sized enterprises with financial support to break into markets in the region.
  • Build on the already allocated $1.26 billion out of the Canada Climate Finance Commitment toward the Indo-Pacific region to assist partner countries with economic recovery and infrastructure needs and catalyze inclusive and sustainable development through Canadian capital, technology and policy expertise.
  • Prioritize the Indo-Pacific region as part of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is working to help partners advance their transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy; Canada will collaborate with partners in the region to support a transition to cleaner energy.
  • Ensure Canada’s international assistance program will target climate and environment action, with the greatest impact based on needs defined locally and related to climate change, energy transition, biodiversity and oceans management.
  • Advance Canada’s Global Carbon Pricing Challenge to share expertise on carbon pollution pricing as an important tool to fight climate change and drive investment in clean technologies

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