OTTAWA — Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Ottawa on Sept 21 for an official visit to Canada to continue discussions about how to deepen bilateral relations.
China-Canada relations have a deep foundation, huge potential and a great development opportunity, said Premier Li upon his arrival, adding that the exchange of visits by him and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau within one month shows that both sides value their relations.
Premier Li said that during his visit, the annual dialogue mechanism between the Premier and the Canadian prime minister will be formally launched, and both sides will further exchange ideas on issues of common concern and promote exchanges and cooperation in all fields, in a bid to inject strong impetus into the development of bilateral relations in the new period.
In Ottawa, Premier Li and Trudeau will hold talks and witness the signing of a series of bilateral cooperation documents. Premier Li will also meet Canada’s parliament leaders and other officials.
Three weeks after their meeting in Beijing, Premier Li and Trudeau are expected to discuss various issues during this visit, including a free-trade pact between the two countries, according to Trudeau’s office.
Canada expected that trade and investment, along with environmental cooperation, legal and judicial collaboration, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people ties would be discussion points when both leaders meet in Ottawa, said the office.
Much was already accomplished during Trudeau’s recent eight-day visit to China and attendance at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, it added.
Trudeau paid an official visit to China and attended the G20 Hangzhou summit from Aug 30 to Sept 6. During his stay in China, the Canadian government announced that Canadian and Chinese companies had signed a number of new commercial contracts and agreements.
The Canadian government also said that it would open seven more Canadian visa application centers in China, and by the year’s end, Canada will apply to join the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“There is tremendous potential for a stronger, more stable relationship with China than there has been for Canada in the past,” Trudeau told reporters in Montreal recently, building on remarks he delivered late last month in Beijing.
“Any economic strategy that ignores China, or that treats that valuable relationship as anything less than critically important, is not just shortsighted, it’s irresponsible,” said Trudeau.
It was Trudeau’s father, Pierre, who as prime minister led negotiations with China to establish formal diplomatic relations in the 1970s. There are now high hopes for Justin Trudeau to build on his father’s legacy.
Bilateral economic ties are already significant since China is now Canada’s second largest trading partner behind the United States.
Economic cooperation and trade is the driving force of China-Canada relations. Currently, China-Canada trade only accounts for 1.4 percent of China’ s total foreign trade and 8.1 percent of that of Canada.
Premier Li’s visit to Canada this week, which so quickly follows Trudeau’s first official visit to China, suggests the connection between both countries’ leadership is quickly becoming stronger.
Both sides are expected to break through barriers to further enhance their relations.