Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay hailed the upcoming China International Import Expo (CIIE) as an important platform to forge closer trade ties with China on Tuesday.
"I'm pleased that the Prime Minister of Canada asked me to represent Canada at the China International Import Expo (CIIE). This is a very important expo to attend. It gives our exporters a chance to meet the importers in China," the minister told Xinhua.
MacAulay will lead a Canadian delegation of more than 600 people, including federal ministers, provincial premiers and business people, to participate in the CIIE, China's first-ever expo of this kind, scheduled for Nov. 5-10 in Shanghai.
The Canadian delegation is the biggest among American and European countries to join the CIIE.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Fortune Global Forum 2018 in Toronto last week that Canada is open for more business with China. "Obviously, China is the world's second-largest economy and growing, and will remain an important place to do business and to look for opportunity."
With support from the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, the CIIE aims to promote trade liberalization and economic globalization, and actively open the Chinese market to the world.
"Trade is vitally important to Canada. We are an export nation and in the agricultural sector we export over 50 percent of what we produce," MacAulay said.
"China is our second largest trading partner and we have in the last year increased our exports by 10 percent. And it's important to note that on the last trade mission that I led to China, it resulted in 300 million Canadian dollars (about 230 million U.S. dollars) in trade for Canada to China," sais MacAulay, who has visited China four times.
China-Canada relations enjoy a solid foundation and bright prospects. The two countries, though at different stages of development, are highly complementary and hence natural partners of cooperation.
Bucking the trend of troubled global trade, China-Canada trade has continued to rise over the past years.
The bilateral trade volume, which hit 72.77 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, rose to 49.87 billion dollars in the first eight months of 2018, among which China's imports from Canada jumped 8.6 percent to 12.65 billion dollars, according to the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.
"It's so important to keep these rapports up because China is an emerging economy with a large expansion in the middle class. In fact, the middle class expands by the size of our population every year," he said.
The Canadian minister said: "It's my job and our exporters' job to make sure we provide quality products to the Chinese market and that is what we will do."
"The CIIE will be a historic and successful event in the world," he added.
Official data show that more than 2,800 enterprises from more than 130 countries and regions in the world have confirmed their participation in the first CIIE. Companies including Canada's Bombardier, Tim Hortons and BMO have also registered for the expo as they believe that free trade is win-win for everyone.
More than 150,000 buyers from around the world are to attend the CIIE. Apart from business exhibitions, more than 80 countries and three international organizations have confirmed their participation in the country-pavilion exhibition, which covers a total area of 30,000 square meters.