Li ar­rives in the ‘land of maples’

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO HUANXIN in Ottawa zhao­huanxin@chi­nadaily.com. cn

The first an­nual di­a­logue be­tween Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and Canadian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is set for Thurs­day, af­ter Li ar­rived on Wed­nes­day just three weeks af­ter Trudeau had vis­ited China.

Li and his wife Cheng Hong ar­rived at the Canadian cap­i­tal af­ter an hour and half flight from New York, where Li had at­tended the 71st United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly meet­ings.

It is the first visit to “the beau­ti­ful land of maples” by a Chi­nese pre­mier in 13 years.

The mech­a­nism of an­nual di­a­logue be­tween heads of gov­ern­ment of the two coun­tries was de­cided dur­ing Trudeau’s visit to China be­tween Aug 30 and Sept 6, when he also at­tended the G20 Hangzhou summit.

“We de­cided to set up an an­nual di­a­logue be­tween the pre­mier of China and the prime min­is­ter of Canada, which will make pol­icy com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween us more timely and ef­fec­tive,” Li said in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished on the The Globe and Mail of Toronto on Wed­nes­day.

It has be­come a de facto pro­ce­dure for Chi­nese lead­ers to pub­lish ar­ti­cles in the lead­ing news­pa­pers of their vis­it­ing coun­tries.

In the ar­ti­cle, Li told Canadian read­ers that he came to fur­ther pro­mote mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, and to se­cure fresh progress for the China-Canada strate­gic part­ner­ship.

Upon his ar­rival, Li said he be­lieved China-Canada re­la­tions are en­dowed with a deep foun­da­tion, huge po­ten­tial and great devel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity.

“Our economies, which are at dif­fer­ent stages of devel­op­ment, are highly com­ple­men­tary, mak­ing us nat­u­ral part­ners of co­op­er­a­tion,” Li said.

The pre­mier said China is will­ing to open its mar­kets wider and fur­ther in­crease im­ports of high-qual­ity agri­cul­tural and high-tech prod­ucts from Canada.

“We hope the fea­si­bil­ity study on a China-Canada free trade area can be launched ex­pe­di­tiously to lay the in­sti­tu­tional foun­da­tion for lib­er­al­ized trade be­tween the two coun­tries,” the pre­mier said in the ar­ti­cle.

A Canada-China free trade deal would gen­er­ate $7.8 bil­lion in ad­di­tional eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity within 15 years, sup­port­ing 25,000 new Canadian jobs, ac­cord­ing to a re­port com­mis­sioned by the Canadian Coun­cil of Chief Ex­ec­u­tives and the Canada-China Busi­ness Coun­cil. The re­port was re­leased in Jan­uary.

While Trudeau vis­ited two ma­jor Chi­nese cities and at­tended a summit in an­other, Li is sched­uled to visit Ottawa and Mon­treal and at­tend a busi­ness fo­rum in Mon­treal.

In the Canadian cap­i­tal, the two lead­ers will hold talks and wit­ness the sign­ing of a se­ries of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion doc­u­ments, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from China’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs.

Li will meet Canada’s gover­nor gen­eral, speaker of the Se­nate, speaker of the House of Com­mons and some lo­cal lead­ers, the state­ment said.

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