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China in Canada's sights as cross-country trade consultations end

By hristopher Guly (Xinhua)

11:05, August 29, 2012

OTTAWA, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Canadian government concluded Tuesday a two-week round of cross-country consultations with industry and business leaders in eight cities to "better align Canada's trade and investment objectives in large, dynamic and fast-growing priority markets," according to a government release.

The outreach initiative was intended to "refresh" the government's Global Commerce Strategy, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government launched in 2007 "to position Canada for long-term prosperity."

In it, the government identified 13 priority markets around the world seen to have the greatest potential for growth of Canadian opportunities and interests. China, with its economy characterized by Ottawa as "a dragon with many tails," is viewed a "key link in global value chains" as a result of its position as a regional manufacturing hub and research-and-development center.

Earlier this month, Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming released the results of a study that evaluated potential bilateral economic " complementarities" matching the interests and requirements of one country with the capacity to supply in the other and highlighted Canada's strengths in the natural resources and agricultural production sectors as a significant export opportunity to China's "large and rapidly growing market."

But the study pointed out trade and investment between Canada and China "represents a relatively small proportion of each nation 's overall international economic activity an important indication of the untapped potential for further growth in the relationship."

Currently, China is Canada's second-largest, single-nation trading partner in goods but trails the United States, which accounts for more than half of all exports to and imports from Canada. Canada, meanwhile, ranks 13th among China's trading partners in goods.

However, the Canadian government also points out that trade with China, Canada's "most important market in Asia", is growing.

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