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China, Canada agree to strengthen economic, trade ties

Updated: Sep 23,2016 1:52 PM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang meets journalists together with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau (R) in Ottawa, Canada, Sept 22, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

OTTAWA — Premier Li Keqiang said in Ottawa on Sept 22 that China and Canada have agreed to strengthen their ties in economic, trade and other fields, and to begin exploratory talks for a potential free trade agreement.

Premier Li, who is on an official visit to the North American nation, made the remarks when meeting journalists together with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

“We have reached many new consensuses in economic and trade area,” said Premier Li, adding that China is willing to import frozen beef from Canada and the two sides have reached an agreement on Canada’s canola exports to China.

Premier Li meets journalists together with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau (R) in Ottawa, Canada, Sept 22, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Premier Li also said that the two sides discussed cooperation in finance, tourism, law enforcement, as well as between their local governments.

“The exchange of visits within one month showed that China-Canada relations are entering a new stage,” said Premier Li who referred to Trudeau’s recent official visit to China, adding that “it’s rare in the bilateral ties, and conforms to the interests of both countries as well as the expectations of the international community.”

Premier Li arrived in Ottawa on Sept 21. His visit to Canada is the first by a Chinese premier in 13 years.

The Premier said the two sides agreed that they have broad common interests and sound cooperation. The development of the bilateral ties is in the interests of both Chinese and Canadian people as well as the world’ s peace and stability.

“We have decided to strengthen exchanges in all levels and in multiple mechanisms. We have agreed to establish high-level financial dialogue mechanism,” Premier Li said.

The Premier also noted that they have discussed their differences, saying that it is normal for China and Canada, two countries with different national conditions and in different development stages, to differ.

Premier Li meets journalists together with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau (R) in Ottawa, Canada, Sept 22, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

He added that what’s more important is to manage their differences, knowing that their common interests far outweigh differences, Premier Li said.

“We are very pleased about the nature and the stability we have been able to bring to the Canada-China relationship,” said Trudeau at the joint press conference. Trudeau said the two sides agreed to double the bilateral trade volume by 2025, and the economic relations between the two countries have huge potential that can create decent salaries and jobs. Trudeau added that maintaining stable relations with China is in the interests of both countries. He is looking forward to bringing more opportunities for Canadians through relations with China.

Before the joint press conference, the two leaders also attended a signing ceremony for 14 bilateral cooperation documents.

Premier Li meets journalists together with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Canada, Sept 22, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

The two countries signed an agreement on the sharing and return of forfeited assets, a joint statement on the cooperation in the third-party market, a protocol for frozen beef to be exported from Canada to China, an arrangement in cooperation in combating crimes, an arrangement for enhanced cooperation in tourism, and others.

Earlier, Trudeau held a welcome ceremony for the Premier, and held talks with Premier Li, which represents the formal launch of an annual dialogue mechanism between the two heads of government established during Trudeau’s China trip.

Premier Li on Sept 22 also met with Canada’s Senate Speaker George Furey, Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan and the General Governor David Johnston.

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