Thank you, Madam Chair.
These discussions on the Canada's trade and investment relations with ASEAN countries are very important, especially in the context of Canada's development of its Indo-Pacific strategy. We all know that, for Canada, trade is very important. It accounts for 60% to 65% of our GDP. We also know that export companies provide high-quality jobs, with almost 40% higher salaries.
The pandemic has changed international trade, I think I should say, permanently. There is a permanent dent in globalization and international trade. Protectionism has come up. This Russian invasion of Ukraine is also going to have a major impact. Energy security has become very important for every country in the world. For Canada, we need to diversify. Today most of our trade is with the United States. Our companies are more comfortable dealing with the U.S. and the North American market than looking beyond North America.
This study we are conducting also includes India and Taiwan, along with ASEAN countries. India is, of course, a high-priority trading partner for Canada. This year we formally launched a comprehensive economic partnership agreement to consider an interim agreement, whatever that means. Let's see how it goes.
With Taiwan, merchandise trade with Taiwan is better than India. I think in 2021 we had about $10 billion in trade with Taiwan, against India's $9 billion. Taiwan, as we all know, has applied for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP. With Taiwan this year we have begun exploratory discussions on a foreign investment protection agreement. Also we have agreed with Taiwan to work together to further promote supply chain resilience.
ASEAN countries are very important for diversification. Combined, they make up a very big number in terms of their size. I think that their combined GDP in 2020 was about $8 trillion, with a combined population of around 617 million. We need to encourage Canadian companies to go beyond the North American market, to look outside of Europe and China. The next big thing is ASEAN countries.
As the Canada-Vietnam Society director Julie Nguyen said, ASEAN countries are our sixth-largest trading partner. I am glad to see the Canada Vietnam Society represented here.
It's good to hear the views of Mr. Farmer, the president of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council. With his feet on the ground there, his perspective is very important for us. I did note that you mentioned that Canada can be a supplier energy and food to these countries, which is very important.
To the Canada Korea Council chair Sonny Cho, it's so nice to see you. I was the previous co-chair of the Canada-Korea Interparliamentary Friendship Group. I know the investments South Korea has made in Canada, in the semiconductor and the electrical vehicle sectors. It is good.
As I said, ASEAN as a whole is very important. Recently I met with ambassadors from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. In fact, later today, I'm scheduled to meet the Indonesian ambassador and an Indonesian delegation of officials and private sector leaders from energy, finance, mining and transportation sectors, who are interested in expanding their business in Canada.
My question is for Mr. Farmer, Ms. Julie Nguyen and Mr. Sonny Cho. It's the same question for all three of you. Because of the time restrictions, please answer in under one minute each. Tell us the three important things Canada should do, change or modify to improve trade relations between Canada and ASEAN countries.
Mr. Farmer, you can go first.