In­vestors from China still up on Canada

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By NA LI in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­

Al­though min­ers world­wide are said to have been in sur­vival mode and a sub­dued mood over the past year, and the cur­rently gloomy min­ing in­dus­try con­tin­ues to face a gamut of chal­lenges, Chi­nese in­vestors are still con­fi­dent on Canada, ac­cord­ing to Xia Xiang, min­is­ter-coun­selor for eco­nomic and com­mer­cial affairs at the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Canada.

Xia made the com­ments at the China Min­ing In­vest­ment Sym­po­sium 2016 hosted by the Canada China Cham­ber of Com­merce on Mon­day in Toronto. The fo­rum was held dur­ing the Prospec­tors and De­vel­op­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada con­ven­tion in Toronto.

“Even last year as we faced a stag­nant world econ­omy and slug­gish world mar­ket, bi­lat­eral trade be­tween China and Canada still achieved a 10 per­cent in­crease to C$85.8 bil­lion, which is so en­cour­ag­ing and con­vinc­ing,” Xia noted.

For two decades, China and Canada have en­joyed steady and fruit­ful bi­lat­eral busi­ness re­la­tions, es­pe­cially since China’s ac­ces­sion to the WTO. In 11 of the last 15 years, both sides have reg­is­tered dou­ble digit in­creases.

Since Canada’s new govern­ment took of­fice, it has sent out strong sig­nals that it wishes to ex­pand busi­ness re­la­tions with Asia, and China seems to be a pri­or­ity.

“Not long ago, lead­ers from both sides reached a con­sen­sus on build­ing a Free Trade Agree­ment (FTA) be­tween two sides,” said Xia. “It is very clearly un­der­stood that an FTA will trig­ger an up­surge and upgrade in bi­lat­eral trade. It will cer­tainly se­cure high em­ploy­ment and ben­e­fit the peo­ple of both coun­tries.”

Xia men­tioned that the Canada China Busi­ness Coun­cil re­leased a re­port ti­tled Chas­ing China: Why an Eco­nomic Agree­ment with China is Nec­es­sary for Canada’s Con­tin­ued Pros­per­ity last month that de­tails the promis­ing pic­ture of an FTA.

Laura Daw­son, di­rec­tor of the Canada In­sti­tute at the Wil­son Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton, who re­cently coau­thored a study on a Canada-China FTA, speak­ing to a Cana­dian me­dia that her re­search shows Canada stands to ben­e­fit greatly if the two coun­tries were to reach a deal.

“It will be bil­lions and bil­lions of dol­lars ev­ery year,” she said.

How­ever, Canada is not cur­rently en­gaged in free-trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with China, ac­cord­ing to Global Affairs Canada.

Their con­fi­dence comes from their per­spec­tive on Canada’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery and on the Chi­nese eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion for the long run ...”

In Jan­uary, China sent its ViceM­i­nis­ter of Fi­nan­cial and Eco­nomic Affairs Han Jun to Ottawa for dis­cus­sions with se­nior of­fi­cials about the prospects of ne­go­ti­at­ing its first FTA with any North Amer­i­can coun­try.

Speak­ing to The Globe and Mail, Han noted China’s econ­omy is still fore­cast to grow at 6.5 per­cent, much faster than the US’.

“So you don’t need to worry that China’s econ­omy will slide over the cliff ,” he said.

It is said that China will im­port $10 tril­lion from out­side and in­vest $500 bil­lion to the out­side world in the next five years.

Canada is one of the main des­ti­na­tions for Chi­nese in­vestors and China is now the sixth-largest in­vestor in Canada, to the tune of US$25 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial Cana­dian sta­tis­tics.

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