Published:  12:21 AM, 05 December 2017

China, Canada sign trade agreements

China, Canada sign trade agreements Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) gestures beside China's Premier Li Keqiang during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. -AFP

Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed three trade agreements on Monday as Ottawa tries to diversify commercial ties amid tough NAFTA negotiations with Washington.

At a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, the two leaders signed an action plan on energy cooperation as well as two memoranda of understanding on food products and a Canada learning initiative. The details of the agreements are unclear. 

The opportunities for deepening our economic and people-to-people ties are tremendous, Trudeau said in opening remarks.   Canada is deeply interested in further engagement and trade across the Pacific and I know we're going to continue to have wonderful and fruitful discussions, he added.

 Li told Trudeau it was rare for China to have such a close, intimate relationship with another nation. China-Canada relations are indeed headed toward a golden stage, he said. Li visited Ottawa in September last year, when the two sides agreed to double bilateral commerce by 2025.

 During the December 3-7 official visit, Trudeau will promote a progressive trade agenda and tourism initiatives, according to his office. He will meet government and business leaders as part of Canada's concerted push to diversify its trade, the bulk of which is currently with the United States.

Trudeau said he also plans full and frank discussions on issues like good governance, human rights, and the rule of law. The visit to China is Trudeau's second since he came to power two years ago, and comes as trilateral talks with the United States and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement appear to be headed toward a deadlock.

-AFP, Beijing

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