Li, Trudeau get ball rolling on free-trade deal

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE and ZHAO HUANXIN in Ot­tawa

China and Canada have agreed to launch ex­ploratory talks on a free-trade agree­ment, Premier Li Ke­qiang and Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau an­nounced on Thurs­day.

They made the an­nounce­ment at a joint press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day morn­ing af­ter a tete-a-tete fol­lowed by a longer talk.

“We have reached new con­sen­sus in the field of econ­omy and trade,” Li said on the sec­ond day of his visit to Canada. “We’ve talked about how to es­tab­lish a free-trade area be­tween China and Canada.”

The two coun­tries also an­nounced an agree­ment aimed at end­ing a dis­pute over ex­ports of Cana­dian canola oil to China.

Trudeau said they found a “pre­dictable, science-based and sta­ble so­lu­tion to en­sure ac­cess to the Chi­nese mar­ket” for Cana­dian canola ex­ports through early 2020.

“This is great news for our Cana­dian canola farm­ers,” said Trudeau, adding that the progress “goes to show how two coun­tries will­ing to col­lab­o­rate can solve dif­fi­cult chal­lenges to­gether”.

China also agreed to im­port bone-in beef from Canada. The mea­sures demon­strated China’s com­mit­ment to farm­ers and pro­duc­ers in Canada, Li said at the press con­fer­ence.

The Cana­dian Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion im­me­di­ately lauded the ac­tion, say­ing it will boost ex­ports to China by $10 mil­lion a year.

The two lead­ers meet­ing twice within a month shows that China-Canada re­la­tions have

This new trade tar­get will ben­e­fit Cana­dian work­ers and busi­ness own­ers while cre­at­ing good, well-pay­ing jobs.” Justin Trudeau, Cana­dian prime min­is­ter

ush­ered in a new phase, Li said.

With the vis­its, the two sides for­mally in­au­gu­rated an an­nual di­a­logue mech­a­nism be­tween the heads of gov­ern­ment, Li said.

The two men presided over a sign­ing cer­e­mony prior to the joint press con­fer­ence, where 14 co­op­er­a­tive doc­u­ments were inked on the econ­omy, trade, agri­cul­ture, cus­toms, ed­u­ca­tion, tourism and crime-fight­ing.

“We’re pleased to have wit­nessed com­mer­cial sign­ings to­day that will help achieve this goal. We know there’s a huge amount of un­tapped po­ten­tial in our com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ship — this new trade tar­get will ben­e­fit Cana­dian work­ers and busi­ness own­ers while cre­at­ing good, well-pay­ing jobs,” Trudeau said.

He also said that though there is much anx­i­ety around glob­al­iza­tion and trade, the Cana­dian and Chi­nese gov­ern­ments are “di­rectly fo­cused on cre­at­ing trade op­por­tu­ni­ties that ben­e­fit Cana­di­ans and ben­e­fit the mid­dle class and the com­mu­ni­ties they work in”.

The two coun­tries also agreed to dou­ble two-way tourism vis­its by 2025. Trudeau said that the two coun­tries agreed to launch a Canada-China eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial strate­gic di­a­logue that “as a fo­rum will seek to guide the eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship be­tween our two coun­tries now and into the fu­ture”.

Li’s visit marked the first Chi­nese premier’s visit to Canada in 13 years.

He was wel­comed by Trudeau with mil­i­tary hon­ors on Thurs­day at the Drill Hall at Cartier Square in Ot­tawa, a mil­i­tary train­ing fa­cil­ity in the Cana­dian cap­i­tal.

He then went to Par­lia­ment Hill, where he was wel­comed by Ge­orge Furey, speaker of the Se­nate, and Ge­off Re­gan, speaker of the House of Com­mons.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang (left) and Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau take part in a joint press con­fer­ence on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa, Canada, on Thurs­day.

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