Envoy: China trade a priority
Canada’s ambassador to China believes that China’s efforts on addressing climate change will greatly benefit both countries.
“China’s recent announcements on taking action to address climate change and increasing its non-fossil fuel share of all energy will create more opportunities in efforts to control air pollution and to support clean energy and nuclear technology,” Ambassador Guy St. Jacques told China Daily in a lengthy interview.
“We are looking at boosting trade, investment and growth opportunities for Canadian businesses in these areas, and are supported by Canadian industries who have also expressed a strong interest in expanding their cooperation and business with Chinese firms.”
Other areas of cooperation involving the climate include energy efficiency, carbon capture, utilization and storage, green construction technology and waste management, St. Jacques said.
St. Jacques recently sat down for an interview with China Daily on a wide range of topics including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November, immigration, trade, tourism, the 2022 Winter Olympics and the overall state of Sino-Canadian relations.
On the APEC meeting, St. Jacques said that “China is an economic and global business powerhouse and did a first-rate job hosting the 2014 APEC Summit and process.”
The ambassador said that during Harper’s official visit to China just before APEC, he had successful meetings with China’s leaders that “strengthened the foundation for future commercial collaboration and which will bolster Canadian companies’ access to the many opportunities that this crucial market has to offer”.
He said it would generate jobs and economic growth in both our countries.
“The announcement of the creation of an RMB trading center in Canada is very significant as it will facilitate trade in both directions,” St. Jacques said.
As to whether Canada would start free-trade talks with China, St. Jacques said deepening Canada’s commercial relations with China is a priority for Canada. As China continues to grow and reform its economy to bring greater benefit to its people, Canada can be an important partner.
“I would reiterate that Canada is open to Chinese investments that benefit Canadians, drive economic growth, and create jobs. The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which came into force on Oct 1, provides a more stable and predictable business environment for investors in both countries.
He said that during Harper’s official visit to China, leaders agreed to deepen trade and commercial ties in agriculture, energy (including in the nuclear sector), civil aviation, health and financial services. China is Canada’s second-largest trade partner.
The ambassador also said that the Canadian Embassy’s trade offices “have proven effective in helping Canadian businesses — especially small and medium-sized enterprises find the opportunities and contacts necessary to successfully export to China”.
St. Jacques said that the six trade offices that were opened in collaboration with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) in China in late 2009 — in Qingdao, Shenyang, Wuhan, Nanjing, Chengdu, and Shenzhen — have helped generate almost 500 business leads and facilitated 50 commercial transactions for Canadian clients, which are estimated to be worth more than $75 million.
During Harper’s visit, he announced that Canada will open new trade offices in the Chinese cities of Hangzhou, Xi’an, Xiamen and Tianjin. He said the four new offices, which will all be opened by February 2015, will expand Canada’s trade network in China, for a total of 15 locations across the country.
The ambassador sees a place for Canada in China’s increasing urbanization.
“We are looking at expanding business opportunities for Canadian companies in civil aviation, health and life sciences, agriculture and bio-products, energy, environment and information and communications technologies (ICT),” he said.
“Canada’s clean technology industries, oil and gas and nuclear businesses also have a strong interest in expanding their cooperation with Chinese firms.”
On immigration, St. Jacques said that Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 announced the government’s intention to terminate the federal Immigrant Investor Program and Federal Entrepreneur Program in order to eliminate a large and longstanding backlog of applications, and “pave the way for new pilot programs
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s ambassador to China