Strategy boost for finance ties
China and Canada will upgrade their economic and financial strategic dialogue to the vice-premier level, which will start in the second quarter of 2017, according to Wang Tianwen, minister and deputy chief of mission of Chinese embassy in Canada.
Speaking at a Canada China Business Excellence Awards luncheon hosted by the Canada China Business Council (CCBC) on Dec 2 in Toronto, Wang said 2016 has been a historic and extraordinary year for China and Canada.
The exchange of visits by Premier Li Keqiang and Premier Minister Justin Trudeau in September added a great boost to bilateral ties, Wang noted.
Financial cooperation between the two sides has grown strong. In November, the National Bank of Canada issued a 3.5 billion yuan panda bond, the first North American financial institution to do so, after Beijing approved its 5 billion yuan bond programme in September.
The Bank of Montreal became one of the first market makers for direct trading of yuan against the Canadian dollar in the interbank foreign exchange market.
Both sides have agreed to launch exploratory discussions on a China- Canada free trade agreement (FTA), which will be held early next year in Beijing.
“A bilateral FTA not only facilitates the expansion of our economic and trade cooperation but also sends a clear signal of promoting trade liberalization and investment facilitation to the international community,” said Wang.
Several small- to mediumsized companies, universities and Chinese investment organizations in Canada received awards during the ceremony.
“The winners honoured today have, over the past two years, made tremendous strides in growing their enterprises and deepening their ties with China,” said Graham Shantz, new president of CCBC, who has lived and worked for almost six years in China and speaks fluent Mandarin.
“We have committed to having the leaders get together once a year,” Shantz added. “That provides the opportunity for two governments to talk about issues important to them, and our members will be invited to contribute to the consultation.”
Sinopec Canada, Zongshen Industrial Group and Huawei Technologies Canada received Chinese Investment in Canada Awards presented by the CCBC.
“It’s a reflection of how well Canada has integrated the Chinese and Canadian business cultures,” said Kevin Long, vice-president of Sinopec Canada.
“We are a unique hybrid in Canada and a real model for Chinese investment in Canada.”