Stephen Harper’s Visit to China and Canada-China Business Forum (2)
Stephen Harper’s Visit to China
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China , Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid an official visit to China from February 7 to 11. D uring the visit, President Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao held meetings with Prime Minister Harper. Vice Premier Li Keqiang met Prime Minister Harper and both attended and addressed the 5th Canada-China Business Forum.
The leaders reaffirmed the guiding principles outlined in the Canada-China Joint Statement of 2009 and their commitment to strengthen the Canada-China strategic partnership. Both sides agreed to maintain frequent high-level exchanges, reinforce political trust, expand practical cooperation, increase people-to-people exchanges, and strengthen consultation and cooperation on international and regional issues in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. The leaders also agreed to bring the economic partnership to the next level by improving the bilateral investment regime. At the same time, the two sides agreed to deepen economic and trade cooperation, and step up cooperation in the areas of energy and other natural resources including oil and gas, nuclear energy, renewable energy, forest products and minerals. These developments will be strengthened by expanded cooperation in the fields of agriculture, high technology, clean technology, environmental protection, life-sciences, bio-pharmacy, civil aviation and financial services, and among small and medium-sized enterprises, so as to cultivate new growth points of mutually-beneficial cooperation. Both sides agreed to elevate education as a new strategic priority of the bilateral relationship. Both sides also agreed to increase dialogue and exchanges on human rights, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, to promote and protect human rights consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and international human rights instruments.
Having reached consensus, the two sides announced a series of important developments and signed relevant agreements. These include the following:
1. The two sides announced the conclusion of the substantive negotiations on the bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Both sides signed a declaration of intent and will work to finalise the text within their respective domestic processes.
2. The leaders agreed that the joint study being done in the Canada-China Economic Partnership Working Group on areas where the two economies are complementary will be completed by May 2012, after which Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussions on deepening trade and economic relations.
3. With a view to strengthening bilateral cooperation in uranium trade and development, both sides held fruitful discussions and reached agreement in principle on a legal instrument to further implement the bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, which will facilitate exports of Canadian uranium to China . Both sides will work to finalise the text within their respective domestic processes.
4. The two sides renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Concerning Cooperation in the Field of Energy between Natural Resources Canada and the National Energy Administration of China.
5. The two sides announced their intent to conclude the substantive negotiations for an updated Canada-China Agreement on Avoidance of D ouble Taxation. Both sides will work together to finalise the text within their respective domestic processes.
6. The two sides announced the conclusion of substantive negotiations on the amendment to the Canada-China Air Transport Agreement. Both sides will work together to finalise the text within their respective domestic processes.
7. The two sides signed the Protocol between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China and on Quarantine and Health Requirements for Industrial Beef Tallow to be exported from Canada to China .
8. The two sides signed a Cooperative Arrangement on Inspection and Quarantine Access Issues between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China.
9. The two sides signed an MOU between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China on a Cooperative Plan for Leptosphaeria Maculans Risk Mitigation (Joint Canola Research).
10. The two sides agreed to sign an MOU between the D epartment of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada and the Ministry of Agriculture of China on Fisheries Cooperation at an early date.
11. The two sides signed the statement of intent for cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation, and announced the third batch of Canada-China science and technology cooperation projects.
12. The two sides signed the MOU on Cooperation between the Natural Resources Canada and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the Sustainable D evelopment of Natural Resources.
13. The two sides reaffirmed their intention to strengthen cooperation in combatting transnational crime and repatriating fugitives in accordance with their respective laws, and to enhance judicial and law enforcement cooperation, and agreed to launch negotiations on an agreement on the sharing of the proceeds of crime.
14. The two sides renewed the MOU between the D epartment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Education Ministry of China on the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program, and agreed to explore additional means to expand two-way academic exchange, aspiring to reach the goal of 100,000 students studying in each other’s countries within five years. The two sides recognise that there is a particular need to encourage more Canadian students to study in China .
15. The two sides highlighted the complementary nature of their respective civil aviation industries and the important role they play in contributing to growth and prosperity in both Canada and China , and undertook to strengthen collaboration in this area.
16. The two sides plan on holding a series of cultural activities in each other’s countries in 2013 and 2014.
17. Following agreement by Canada and China , the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens will sign an agreement with the Toronto and Calgary zoos to provide a pair of giant pandas for 10 years of collaborative research on conservation.
18. The two sides signed the MOU between the Parks Canada Agency and the State Forestry Administration of China for cooperation on matters related to protected areas.
19. Both sides applauded the upgrading of Canada ’s Consulate in Chongqing to Consulate-General.
20. The Chinese side welcomed the availability of multiple entry Canadian visas for Chinese citizens valid for a period of up to 10 years. The relevant authorities will undertake bilateral consultations on further simplifying visa procedures.
21. The two sides reaffirmed that Canada and China have important shared interests in promoting peace, security and sustainable development regionally and globally, and agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation in the UN, G20, APEC and other multilateral institutions as well as on major international and regional issues. The two sides agreed that Canada and China are ready to work constructively with other countries in the region to enhance peace, security and stability in Asia-Pacific.
22. D uring the visit, more than 20 commercial agreements were signed between enterprises of the two countries
STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA AT THE CANADA-CHINA BUSINESS FORUM
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks at the Canada-China Business Forum:
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Peter, also for your kind introduction, and thank you to the Canada-China Business Forum for the opportunity to speak here today and also for organizing this impressive gathering of Canadian and Chinese business leaders. This is the fifth such forum that has been held, and I congratulate you for helping build stronger trade relations between Canada and China .
“I’m honoured to share the podium today with His Excellency Vice Premier Li, with whom I just concluded a cordial and productive meeting, I hope of the first of many to come. That meeting is one of many I will be having with senior government officials during this trip, and I know that all of these meetings with Chinese leaders will help strengthen Canada-China relations.
“I also want to acknowledge representatives of the Canadian Chambers of Commerce of Shanghai and Hong Kong who are with us today, and greetings as well to Wan Jifei , Chair of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. I’m very pleased to be back in China .
“It is an auspicious time – the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. As the most exciting creature in the ancient Chinese zodiac, the dragon inspires confidence, energy and success, characteristics that also define the flourishing relationship between Canada and China .
“We have seen remarkable growth in two-way trade and investment, people-to-people ties, and bilateral cooperation over the past few years. It is no accident, I think, that Canada and China came through the global recession avoiding the severity of the financial, economic and employment crises seen elsewhere. Throughout this challenging period, our governments, our business leaders and our peoples have worked diligently to identify and to seize opportunities for expanding mutually beneficial trade and investment. There is a symmetry between our economic needs that is found among only a small number of our trading partners.
“ Canada has the resources, technological sophistication, and geo-strategic positioning to complement China ’s economic growth strategy, and China ’s growth, in turn, complements our determination to diversify our export markets. The proof is in the numbers, starting with investment. Two-way investment has increased almost 700 percent during the last seven years. Canadian direct investment in China rose to nearly five billion dollars in 2010, up nearly 40 percent from the previous year. Chinese direct investment in Canada rose almost 10 percent in 2010, approaching 15 billion dollars. These impressive numbers will only grow with yesterday’s conclusion of our new Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement. It’s the same story for two-way trade.
“Thanks in part to our government’s investment in the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Canada ’s lumber exports to China are setting records. The ‘ China-Canada Green Building Design Center in Langfang’ that I visited this morning is an impressive building. It reminds us of a ski chalet, and it is one of the largest wood-frame buildings in China, but what is more important about it is that it is a demonstration project built entirely with Canadian lumber, Canadian products, and Canadian construction training.
“We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China , once infrastructure is in place. Since the granting of Approved Destination Status during my last visit here, Chinese tourism to Canada is also flourishing. In that regard, I was very pleased yesterday to attend the opening of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s office in Beijing , and to kick off their 2012 campaign. As well, Canadian beef exports have recently resumed after a 10-year hiatus.
“Globally, China is now Canada 's second-largest trading partner. This 20 percent rise in our exports in 2010 is reflected in our government’s dramatic expansion of our trade commission network in China , helping Canadian companies capitalize on countless business opportunities. And speaking of business opportunities, I am honoured to be present at this business forum, and to have witnessed the signing of a significant number of commercial agreements just a few minutes ago. Together, the value of these 23 agreements is close to three billion dollars.
“Among the signatories are some very well-known Canadian corporate names. The list includes: Bombardier, Canada’s renowned aircraft and commuter train manufacturer which has won several contracts to supply rail cars and other technologies for Chinese public transit systems, Telus and Bell, two of Canada’s largest telecommunications service providers will upgrade their networks here, and ClevrU Corporation has developed an internet-based remote learning package that will increase access to education.
“Also yesterday, in the Great Hall of the People, Premier Wen and I reached a number of important agreements. The cumulative impact of these accords truly takes Canada-China relations to a new level. They deal with air transportation, and double taxation.
“We renewed an earlier Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation. We secured a deepening of our Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, and we have agreed to jointly fund science, technology and innovation research into human vaccines, and clean transportation. I’m therefore pleased that we have also agreed that following the completion of the joint study on economic complimentaries later this spring, Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussion to further deepening our economic and trade relations. Further diversifying our trade relations has the potential of greatly expanding Canadian growth and Canadian job creation. They also signal the growing engagement between our people at every level, from tourism and student exchanges, to partnerships among business leaders, to relationships between senior government leaders such as myself and Vice-Premier Li.
“In the long run, it is these personal connections that will define our relationship. The more Canada and China do business together, the more we build our cultural networks, the more we collaborate in international forums, the deeper I’m convinced our friendship will become. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a goal worth striving for. Thank you.”