Emerging and growing markets

China's Growing Importance

Some call China's economy a dragon with many tails. It's big, it's growing fast and it's a key link in global value chains. Canadian companies are doing well there, but to take better advantage of the enormous opportunities, more businesses need to ride this enormous beast to stay competitive in the global marketplace.

As a market for Canadian exports, China is like no other. It is the fourth-largest economy in the world and has a gross domestic product growing at unparalleled rates. The fourth-largest market for Canadian merchandise exports, it is expected to grow further in importance as China's infrastructure requirements continue to drive demand for goods and services. Moreover, China is a key link in global value chains, having become a regional hub of manufacturing and a centre for research and development.

Canadian exporters are active in several of China's industrial sectors, such as information and communications technology, transportation, aerospace, automobiles and auto parts. But Canada also has a toehold in building products and construction, environmental equipment and services, agriculture and agri-food, energy, resources and mining. We also have a major presence in the financial services sector.

China's formidable economic presence in the world has meant that many countries are vying for a share of this market, and Canada needs to play a bigger role in China's evolving global supply chain. That's why the Government of Canada is committed to a path of action that creates the commercial links, the innovation links, and the infrastructure links that will position Canada to benefit from Asia's rise.

Accordingly, the government is taking a targeted, focused approach to trade with its Global Commerce Strategy. China is one of the priority markets identified in this strategy.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has developed a market plan for China that identifies five priority sectors for Canada: agriculture and agri-food; information and communication technologies; automotive, aerospace, and metals; minerals and related services; and equipment. These are all areas where Canadian expertise closely matches Chinese demand, and where Canadian companies have told the government they want to pursue business opportunities. In January 2007, Canada and China signed a Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement to boost collaborative R&D activities.

The Canadian government aims to do its part to maintain strong relations with China by making Canada a partner of choice for international business, by negotiating improved access to global markets, capital, technology and talent, and by connecting Canadian business with expanding global opportunities.