Canada praises economic ties with China

Updated: 2014-10-24 05:39

By Wang Ru in Beijing(China Daily Canada)

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Canada praises economic ties with China

Canada's Minister of Finance Joe Oliver speaks to economists and business leaders at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing on Monday. Wang Ru / China Daily

The relationship between China and Canada in the energy markets is emblematic of the growing economic ties between the two countries, said Canada's Minister of Finance Joe Oliver.

"There is great complementarity between our two countries in the area of energy," said Oliver, who spoke to economists and business leaders at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing on Monday.

"Canada has a strategic need to diversify our markets, and China has a strategic interest to diversify its source of supply," said Oliver, who was in China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Oliver said the relationship is crucial in a "weak global economy filled with uncertainty".

Oliver also called the recent Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection agreement between the two countries, enacted on Oct 1, "a significant accomplishment".

"This agreement set out clear rules governing investment relations, including dispute resolution and protection against discriminatory and arbitrary practices," Oliver said. "It will create a secure and predictable environment for Canadian and Chinese investors - exactly the kind of stability needed to deepen ties."

On Oct 16, the Canadian Department of Finance hosted the seventh Canada-China Financial Sector Policy Dialogue in Ottawa.

Canada is also considering establishing the first offshore renminbi trade center.

"Provinces in Canada welcome the plan to set up the renminbi trade center, which will reduce rate-risk for business transactions between two countries," said Song Yijun, counselor of the commercial office of Ontario at the Canadian embassy.

"Canada and China have complementary economies and share a wide range of interests, such as liberalizing trade, improving the investment environment and bolstering global financial stability," said Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada's ambassador to China.

"China and Canada should work more closely on innovation and the high-tech industry," said Daniel Cheng, managing director of the Canada China Business Council in China.

"Most Chinese people may not be familiar with the fact that some high-tech companies such as IMAX and Blackberry are from Canada," said Cheng.

"Canada has a great environment and tax policy for R&D and cutting-edge innovation while China has a huge market, and production lines awaits new ideas," Cheng said.

China is Canada's second-largest trading partner and its fastest-growing trade partner in recent years. Canadian exports to China have more than quadrupled since 2003.

In 2013, two-way merchandise trade totaled passed $73 billion - 7.7 percent of Canada's total, more than three times more than a decade ago.

Canadian direct investment in China was $4.9 billion at the end of 2013, almost six times as much as a decade ago.

More than 400 Canadian firms are active in China, from multinationals to small businesses.

Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) expect Canada to be among the strongest-growing economies in the G7 this year and next.

For the seventh year in a row, the World Economic Forum rated Canada's banking system the world's soundest. The credit rating agencies accord Canada a triple-A rating, with a stable outlook.

Since 2004, Canada and China have maintained a senior-level dialogue on financial sector policies affecting both countries' financial institutions.

Finance Minister Oliver also stressed that ties between citizens of Canada and China are at the core of the bilateral relationship.

"The first Chinese immigrants arrived in British North America in 1788 - fewer than 100 people," he said. "Today, 1.5 million people of Chinese origin call Canada home. That is one of the largest diaspora Chinese communities in the world.

"The Canadian presence in China is more recent, immortalized by Dr Norman Bethune, who worked as a physician in the army of Mao Zedong," said Oliver.

"Twenty-one years later, 10 years before an official relationship was established, Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker opened the door for Canadian wheat exports to China," Oliver said. "And we have not looked back."