Li arrives in the ‘land of maples’
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.