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Canadian trade delegation in Shanghai
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-17 22:29

A Canadian delegation, headed by the Minister of International Trade and including some 250 Canadian companies, arrives in Shanghai Tuesday to begin an 8-day visit to promote bilateral exchange and investment.

The group, including 365 business leaders, is expected to fly to the Chinese capital on Thursday, coinciding with the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to Beijing and Hong Kong.

Martin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will witness the signing of several bilateral economic, political and cultural agreements during his 4-day visit, which ends on Sunday.

The mission will then jet out to Hong Kong on Saturday's afternoon.

"This is the first comprehensive trade delegation from Canada in the last year," said J. Ian Burchett, counselor of Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.

He said Canada sends out various kinds of trade missions to China throughout the year. "We have a specific one every month, featuring different industries," he said.

This time, the Canadian business delegation represents a range of sectors, such as financial services, education, energy, natural resources, transportation, agri-food, information and communication technologies, biotechnology, aerospace and tourism.

Burchett said such a large and comprehensive trade delegation occurs every two years.

In 2001, then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited Beijing, leading a 600-strong trade mission to China, including provincial and territorial leaders, mayors, and representatives of academic institutions.

The programme being tailored in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong will consist of seminars and conferences, hospitality events and networking opportunities designed to introduce mission participants to local government decision-makers and local business leaders, as well as Canadian business people active in the region.

James Peterson, Canada's international trade minister, said that broadening and deepening bilateral trade and investment with countries like China, Brazil and India is a priority for Canada.

"Canadian companies need to be much better positioned in these markets if they are to participate fully in the market growth that is expected," he said in a statement.

Officials from International Trade Canada and at the Canadian Embassy in China will work with the delegates to identify potential business partners.

According to the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, China is Canada's second-largest trading partner after the United States. For the first 10 months of last year, Canada's exports to China increased by 54.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2003. As such, China continues to offer tremendous commercial potential for Canadian businesses.

"The trade mission represents an excellent opportunity for Canadian business people to explore and understand the Chinese market and vice versa," said Zhang Yijun, former Chinese Ambassador to Canada.

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