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Minister Fast Highlights Successes of Prime Minister Harper-led Trade Mission to China

Agreements signed will take the Canada-China trade and economic relationship to the next level

February 22, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today highlighted in Vancouver to the Dawa Business Group Inc. the recent accomplishments of his visit to China, which was led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), and Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, also attended the event.

“I have just returned from an extremely successful trade mission to China,” said Minister Fast. “The agreements reached on this highly productive mission will take the Canada-China trade and economic relationship to the next level, as well as create jobs and prosperity for hardworking Canadians here at home.”

During the visit to China, Prime Minister Harper and China’s Premier Wen Jiabao witnessed the signing of new joint initiatives between the two countries, as well as the renewal of existing ones, in the areas of energy, the sustainable development of natural resources, education, science and technology, and agriculture.

One of the key announcements made during the visit concerned the conclusion of negotiations toward a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) between Canada and China. Minister Fast and his Chinese counterpart, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, signed the Declaration of Intent for the FIPA during the visit. The agreement will contribute to jobs and growth by facilitating trade and investment flows between Canada and China. It will provide a more stable and secure environment for investors on both sides of the Pacific.

Other important announcements made during the Prime Minister’s visit to China that will strengthen the Canada-China commercial relationship include:

“Deepening and broadening access to high-growth markets like China is a key part of our government’s job-creating, pro-trade plan,” said Minister Fast. “Our government’s top priority is to create jobs, increase prosperity and preserve and strengthen the financial security of hardworking Canadians and their families.”

During his speech in Vancouver, the Minister also highlighted China and Canada’s renewal of a scholars’ exchange program. Over the years, education ties between Canada and China have expanded significantly. In 2010, over 60,000 Chinese students studied in Canada, representing close to 28 percent of international students in Canada and contributing almost $1.9 billion to the Canadian economy.

During the visit to China, Prime Minister Harper and China’s President Hu Jintao also agreed that, following the completion of a bilateral economic complementarities study in May 2012, Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussions on deepening trade and economic relations.

Canadian merchandise trade exports to China grew by 26.9 percent in 2011 and totalled almost $17 billion. Imports from China totalled $48.1 billion, an increase of 8.1 percent over 2010. China is one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies and is now Canada’s second-largest individual merchandise trading partner. Canadian investment in China reached its highest level ever at the end of 2010, standing at almost $5 billion, an increase of 38 percent over 2009. Chinese foreign direct investment in Canada increased by almost 10 percent in the same period, reaching $14.1 billion in 2010.

Finally, to further promote Canada as a tourist destination in China, on February 8, 2012, Prime Minister Harper officially launched the Canadian Tourism Commission’s 2012 tourism marketing campaign in Beijing. Since being granted Approved Destination Status by China in December 2009, Canada has seen a significant increase in the number of Chinese visitors. Over the past year, Canada has welcomed approximately 24 percent more Chinese visitors than it did in the previous year. For more information on the launch, please visit Prime Minister Harper Highlights Tourism Growth in China.

For more information on the trade mission, please visit Prime Minister Harper Leads Delegation to China.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada