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Canada’s relationship with China is long-standing and dates from well before the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1970.
Canada is represented by an embassy in Beijing and consulates general in Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. These diplomatic missions are supported by a secondary network of 10 trade offices, spread across the country, which are operated through an arrangement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
We work with China at the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels. Areas of engagement include trade and investment, environment and climate change, education and culture, and consular affairs.
Through a variety of initiatives, Canada supports work in China on women and children, peaceful pluralism, respect for diversity, climate change, biodiversity loss, and global health. We are also actively promoting international norms and values. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives provides small grants for projects across China that address environmental sustainability, good governance, civil society development, and rights protection for disadvantaged groups.
Strong people-to-people ties link Canada and China: over 1.8 million Canadian residents are of Chinese origin, and in 2022, more than 128,000 Chinese students with study permits for six months or more attended Canadian educational institutions. Chinese is Canada’s third most spoken language after English and French, and immigrants born in China (including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) form one of the largest groups within Canada’s immigrant population. Tourism flows and ongoing cultural exchanges enrich bilateral linkages.
China remains an important commercial market for Canadian businesses. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has identified commercial opportunities for Canadian companies in a number of key sectors. These include: agriculture and agri-food, consumer products, natural resources and energy, design and infrastructure services, and health services.
While recognizing the commercial potential for Canadian businesses, there are associated risks including market access barriers, opaque regulations with uneven and arbitrary implementation, prevalent and persistent intellectual property theft, and the risk of diversion of sensitive goods and technologies intended for civilian use for military purposes and applications. Human rights abuses, such as forced labour, could also impact supply chains of Canadian companies. While Canadian companies are expected to undertake thorough supply chain due diligence to import their goods into Canada, Chinese laws and regulations may inhibit assessment of all aspects and vendors in a company’s mainland China operations.
Canada also proactively manages a strategic relationship with China on economic policy, trade policy, and market access, an effort supported in-country by a team of professionals drawn from Canadian federal departments and agencies, including Global Affairs Canada, Finance Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Canadian Border Services Agency.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and China work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- Pacific Alliance
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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