Canada to boost re­la­tions with China

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai


Canada is keen to en­hance its eco­nomic ties with China and ea­ger to be­come a new mem­ber of the China-led Asian In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB), said Canada’s Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade Chrys­tia Free­land at a me­dia event on July 8, ahead of the G20 Trade Min­is­ters Meet­ing in Shang­hai.

Of­fi­cially launched in Jan­uary this year, the AIIB is an in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment bank that will chan­nel strate­gic in­vest­ments into sec­tors such as transportation and lo­gis­ti­cal in­fras­truc­ture within Asian coun­tries in a bid to strengthen their economies and en­hance their ca­pac­ity to trade with one an­other.

Canada has had strong bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with China since the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions in 1970. China is cur­rently Canada’s sec­ond­largest trad­ing part­ner and Chi­nese form the third-largest tourist group in the coun­try.

Fur­ther­more, the largest pop­u­la­tion of for­eign­ers en­ter­ing Canada is Chi­nese, with more than 20,000 ar­riv­ing in the coun­try last year. Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, there are cur­rently over 1.5 mil­lion Cana­di­ans of Chi­nese de­scent liv­ing in the coun­try. China is also the source of the largest group of for­eign stu­dents in Canada. There were about 120,000 Chi­nese stu­dents study­ing in the coun­try last year.

“What is so won­der­ful about Canada to­day is we are unique in the West­ern in­dus­tri­al­ized world. We are a coun­try where we have a strong na­tional con­sen­sus about em­brac­ing the world and be­ing open to im­mi­grants and these fan­tas­tic Chi­nese stu­dents,” said Free­land, whose three chil­dren study Chi­nese.

“We are strong not de­spite of our di­ver­sity, but be­cause of our di­ver­sity. Our di­ver­sity in­cludes all forms of di­ver­sity. Canada, as an im­mi­grant coun­try, be­lieves in mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and cel­e­brat­ing all of the peo­ple liv­ing in our coun­try and all the places they come from, very much in­clud­ing China.”

Ear­lier in March, the first ren­minbi trad­ing hub in the Amer­i­cas was launched in Toronto and is ex­pected to help Cana­dian com­pa­nies save on the costs of do­ing busi­ness with coun­ter­parts in Asia.

China and Canada are also in the midst of ne­go­ti­at­ing a Free Trade Agree­ment (FTA) but Free­land was cagey about the topic.

“In or­der to take a step for­ward and make the re­la­tion­ship even stronger, it is very im­por­tant to take the time to build a strong foun­da­tion, a strong neu­tral un­der­stand­ing and even strong hu­man re­la­tion­ships,” said Free­land.

Ahead of the G20 Trade Min­is­ters Meet­ing, Free­land also had a short meet­ing with in­vest­ments to cre­ate more jobs as well as tack­ling en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. She also men­tioned that Canada’s ex­per­tise in cer­tain in­dus­tries can be of ben­e­fit to China.

“We are also re­source­ful in other ar­eas that have tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties for Canada and China to co­op­er­ate, such as en­vi­ron­ment space, gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion, fi­nan­cial ser­vices and health­care,” said Free­land.

“I am very pleased that I re­ally see a real fo­cus on Canada from the 13th Five-Year Plan and real ex­clu­sive de­sire from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to deepen our re­la­tion­ship, par­tic­u­larly our eco­nomic one.”

Free­land also men­tioned that Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is ex­pected to at­tend the G20 sum­mit in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, in Septem­ber.

Trudeau, the son of for­mer Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau who es­tab­lished re­la­tions with China in 1970, had dur­ing last year’s G20 sum­mit pledge to strengthen bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with China.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to our prime min­is­ter com­ing to the G20 at the end of the sum­mer and I feel very strongly that the best is yet to come in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Cana­di­ans and Chi­nese,” said Free­land.

“The im­por­tant rea­son why I am so con­fi­dent we are at the be­gin­ning of re­ally golden age of Canada-China re­la­tions, par­tic­u­larly in the busi­ness space, is be­cause of our prime min­is­ter, our new gov­ern­ment and the prime min­is­ter’s real ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the im­por­tance of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Chi­nese and Cana­di­ans.”


Canada's Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade Chrys­tia Free­land speaks to the me­dia in Shang­hai.

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