China-Canada relations to step into ‘new golden decade’

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau wave to the media after the signing ceremony of a series of bilateral cooperation documents in Ottawa September 21, 2016. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s just-concluded visit to Canada has injected strong dynamism into the China-Canada relations which are now heading toward a “new golden decade”, experts said.

The assessment is based not only on the agreements the two countries reached during Li’s visit, but also the remark by Li that China wants to return to the days when his country had better relations with Canada compared to most other western countries.

On Parliament Hill in Ottawa last Thursday, a series of agreements were signed between the two countries including one concerning the “sharing and return of forfeited assets.”

The two countries also agreed to consider an extradition treaty which would include provisions concerning expelling and transferring fugitives, marking a key step in the two countries’ efforts to eventually conclude a deal. A possible extradition treaty is believed to not only enhance China’s anti-corruption ability, but also promote anti-corruption cooperation between China and other countries.

During Li’s visit, China and Canada made a joint announcement to double the two countries’ trade volume by 2025 from 2015.

At a press conference on September 22, Li and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the countries would begin exploratory talks on the possibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) which would not only increase the trade volume between the two countries, but also affect the pattern of global trade once signed.

China has not started FTA talks with any other G7 country, and Canada is most likely to be the first one among the G7 to sign a FTA with China.

“The FTA would be very important for economic cooperation between the two countries. It would not only help to eliminate the trade barriers, but also boost the two countries’ economy so as to bring benefits to the people of the two countries,” said Wang Jia, an expert from University of Alberta.

Li also welcomed Canadian enterprises to do business in China. While signaling that China would provide a transparent and stable market for Canadian investors in China, Li also encouraged Chinese investors to make investment in Canada.

The two countries also signed an agreement concerning “China-Canada cooperation in a third-party market”.

Under the agreement of “cooperation on third-party markets”, China and Canada could jointly help to promote the urbanization and industrialization of some countries from Africa and Latin America, according to Jiang Zengwei, president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).

During Li’s visit to Canada, the two countries said they want to double two-way visits by 2025 based on 2015 statistics and agreed to cooperate in fields including investment, travel, trade, education and finance.

Li’s visit was welcomed by Chinese-Canadians who Li said are an essential part of China’s development. As China is opening to the world and has a huge need for innovation and technology, Chinese Canadians should take this opportunity to develop their own careers, Li noted.


(This article is translated and edited by Chunmei.)

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