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China and Canada aim to double trade by 2010
( 2003-12-12 17:20) (Agencies)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that he and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien had set a goal of doubling their countries' bilateral trade by 2010.

Wen told a lunch of Canadian and Chinese business leaders that bilateral trade currently stood at about eight billion US dollars a year.

But he said this should increase because Canada "is richly endowed with natural resources and high technology" and China "has a large pool of labour" and a growing consumer market.

Earlier, the prime ministers witnessed the signature of agreements including an order by the China National Chemicals and Export Cooperation (Sinochem) to buy 1.65 million tonnes of potash next year and the sale by the Canadian Wheat Board of 500,000 tonnes of wheat, worth 100 million dollars (75 million US).

Other agricultural sector agreements signed included increasing phyto-sanitary cooperation, establishing a working group on microbiological and chemical residue in animals used for human food, and dairy farm cooperation to help China improve its milk quality.

Canada is to provide five million dollars (3.75 million US) to help Canada reform its judiciary system.

Wen, in his speech to businss leaders, noted that China was now Canada's third largest trading partner and Canada ranked 10th among China's trading partners.

Outside Thursday's agreement, Wen said China was already importing more than one million tonnes of Canadian potash every year.

Sales of Chinese-made consumer goods in Canada are also growing rapidly.

"The two economies are highly complementary and both stand to gain in the mutually-beneficial cooperation," Wen said.

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