Canada and China are ready to sign an agreement to return illegal assets seized from fugitives of economic crime, including corrupt officials, according to a senior Canadian diplomat.
Canada’s Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques told China Daily that the countries have made “good progress this year” in the fight against corruption.
The agreement “is ready to be signed on the return of property related to people who would have fled to Canada and would have been involved in corrupt activities,” the ambassador said.
Once the agreement is signed, “it will serve as a model for other countries. I think on that front we should have good progress,” he said.
Corrupt Chinese officials and smugglers seeking shelter in Canada have led to long-term controversy.
In mid-November, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies decided to set up a cross-border law enforcement network to strengthen trans national anti-corruption cooperation in the region.
Beijing and Ottawa have “good collaboration” and have returned more than 1,200 people in the past three years, including more than 60 who were sought in China for criminal reasons, according to the ambassador.
Beijing has made remarkable progress in repatriating fugitive officials and other economic criminals from destinations world wide.
At least 428 Chinese suspects had been captured abroad by the end of October under Beijing’s Fox Hunt 2014 operation.
Saint-Jacques noted the good cooperation between police forces.
“I think this is proceeding very well,” he said.
The ambassador was also hopeful that a renminbi trading center would be established in Canada in the first part of next year.
In early November, China’s central bank appointed the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to clear trans actions involving the renminbi in Toronto, Canada’s financial hub.
“This will help, in my view, to foster trade relations because we lower the cost of doing transactions by allowing people to do business directly in renminbi,” he said.
Canada and China have agreed to a set of measures to support the increased use of the renminbi in trade, commerce and investment.
A reciprocal currency swap will allow a maximum amount of 200 billion yuan ($32.3 billion) and C $30 billion ($26 billion).
Domenico Lombardi, an expert on the global economy from Canada’s think tank Centre for International Governance Innovation, recently said, “We should prepare to see the renminbi be much more widely used, to become an international currency”.
The establishment of the renminbi center symbolizes a key development in that process, Lombardi told Xinhua.