On December 10, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Mary Ng, announced Canada’s endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA). This APEC initiative is a new and innovative plurilateral Arrangement intended to create a framework for economies and Indigenous peoples to work together to increase trade and economic cooperation.
In its announcement, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) acknowledged the importance of the “close cooperation with Indigenous peoples in Canada through [its] … Indigenous Working Group on Trade Policy (IWG) and … the importance of enhancing the ability of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous businesses to benefit from the opportunities created by international trade and investment.” Michael Woods has served on Global Affairs Canada’s Indigenous Working Group (IWG) since its creation in 2017.
Since February 2021, when Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Chinese Taipei and other APEC economies began work towards developing the IPETCA with the focus on the economic empowerment of Indigenous peoples in the Asia- Pacific region, much work was done by IWG member participants. Michael participated in many internal GAC- IWG sessions as well as multilateral APEC meetings and precedent-setting international Indigenous-to-Indigenous consultations.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Associate Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta and Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor announced the conclusion of the IPETCA initiative and invited economies to declare their intention to join. The IPETCA is intended to create a framework for economies and Indigenous peoples to work together to increase trade and economic cooperation. The goal is to facilitate economic cooperation across a range of areas including responsible business conduct, traditional knowledge, opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, digital trade and e-commerce, and many more. The agreement reaffirms commitments to important international instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A joint decision-making body, the Partnership Council, will enable both economy representatives and Indigenous Peoples to oversee and implement the Arrangement.
 https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2021/12/canada-endorses-indigenous-peoples-economic-and-trade-cooperation-arrangement.html; see also https://twitter.com/CanadaTrade/status/1469384046304186370
 Asia-Pacific Economic is a 21- member intergovernmental forum dedicated to promoting economic growth, and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. [ Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (apec.org)]
 The Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement | New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (mfat.govt.nz)