11 January 2012
Canada has a long-standing and comprehensive relationship with the People’s Republic of China which operates at many levels and includes political, commercial, scientific, cultural and academic ties. Bilateral cooperation is dynamic – many Canadian government departments have productive cooperation programs and memoranda of understanding with their Chinese counterparts, and hold regular exchanges at various levels. Both countries enjoy an active working relationship in international fora, such as the G-20, the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the World Trade Organisation.China is Canada’s second-largest merchandise trading partner. Bilateral merchandise trade reached $57.7 billion in 2010, while overall trade between the two countries more than tripled between 2001 and 2010. The Government of Canada is active in China in support of Canadian companies, with 11 service points comprising five diplomatic missions and six trade offices.
In December 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his first visit to China. Since then, there have been over 30 visits by Canadian Ministers to China and a visit by former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, as well as the State visit of President Hu Jintao to Canada.
Prime Minister Harper’s upcoming visit to China will further enhance and expand our relationship with China and will lay the foundation for more extensive cooperation.
Canada Receives Approved Destination Status (ADS)
During Prime Minister Harper’s visit to China in December 2009, China announced that it would grant Canada Approved Destination Status (ADS), which allows Chinese nationals to travel to Canada in a leisure group tour format. As a result, opportunities such as new non-stop flights between Canada and Guangzhou on China Southern Airlines are now possible, making travel between Southern mainland China and Canada faster and more convenient while providing opportunities for economic growth. This highlighted not only our mutual commitment to strengthening our diplomatic and commercial partnerships, but also our people-to-people ties.
Expansion of Foreign Offices
In order to promote and foster enhanced relations, and to better provide trade, consular and immigration services, Canada and China announced in December 2009 that they would be expanding their network of offices in each other’s country. Canada aims to expand commercial presence in order to create more opportunities for Canada in trade, investment and science and technology. To date, Canada has opened six new offices in China, and China has opened one new office in Canada.
A Cooperative Arrangement on a Staged Approach for Full Market Access for Canadian Beef and Beef Products
During the Chinese President's June 2010 visit to Canada, Canada and China signed a Cooperative Arrangement committing Canada and China to resolving access for Canadian beef. The Chinese market for both Canadian beef and cattle had been closed in May 2003 following Canada's first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Canada would become the first BSE-affected country to regain market access for beef to China. Both countries agreed to a staged approach and, after extensive technical negotiations, Canada and China reached an agreement in May 2011 which restored access for Canadian deboned beef derived from animals under thirty months of age.
Cooperation on Combating Crime
The Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation on Combating Crime was signed by President Hu and Prime Minister Harper during President Hu’s visit to Canada in June, 2010. The MOU aims to facilitate cooperation between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS). Signing the MOU was an objective set out in the December 2009 Canada-China Joint Statement, in order to provide a strengthened foundation for ongoing cooperation between the RCMP and MPS.
Establishment of a Working Group on Environmental Protection and Energy Conservation
During President Hu’s visit to Canada in June 2010, Canada and China agreed to establish a bilateral working group on commercial cooperation to advance their shared interests in making clean technology or “cleantech” a focal point for increased bilateral cooperation and trade. The Memorandum of Understanding enhances government-to-government and business-to-business cooperation and provides a forum to exchange information and to facilitate market entry for Canadian small and medium-sized cleantech enterprises. To date there have been two EPEC working group meetings in February and June 2011, a delegation of Canadian clean technology companies participated in the China International Environmental Protection Exhibition & Conference (CIEPEC) in Beijing, in June 2011. At this time, the second meeting of the EPEC Working Group was held in China, with wider participation including Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council, Business Development Bank of Canada, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. The group identified joint Canada-China demonstration projects in the areas of water, waste water, and green building technologies as potential areas of future collaboration. The potential for increased trade, investment and research partnerships in cleantech between China and Canada is substantial.
Signing of Five Agreements between Canada and China
Prime Minister Harper witnessed the signing of five agreements during his visit to China in December 2009, including Memorandums of Understanding on: climate change; cultural cooperation; agricultural research and training; mineral resources; and a new protocol to the agreement on maritime transport.