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Chinese enterprise leaders: Li's visit comes at good time

(China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-09-22 11:13

A1 Business leaders in both Canada and China are very pleased to see the continued improvement in bilateral relations between Canada and China. Premier Li's visit to Canada this week, less than a month after Canada PM Trudeau completed his first formal trip to China, is another reflection of the direction this relationship is heading. We all believe these bilateral state visits will enhance communications and cooperation between the two countries.

A2 China is Canada's second-largest single-country trading partner, and two-way trade between the two countries reached nearly $85.8 billion in 2015, up 10.1 percent over 2014. We are glad to see the two countries have started dialogue on FTA. We understand that Canada and China have different economic conditions; also, two governments are facing challenges in their own political and economic sections, so it may take some time to eventually come to an agreement, but we all expect to see more solid progress in the future. China and Australia already signed a FTA; it could be a very interesting case study for Canada.

A3Canada needs to ensure Canadian companies, including both large companies and SMEs, have access to the Asia market. It is critical that Canadian firms take advantage of the scale of Asian markets. Canada has been working hard to develop Asian markets in recent years, and we do believe Canada's participation in the AIIB will open significant business opportunities for Canadian businesses.

A4 Canada has been making significant efforts to improve business and trade relationships with China. In particular, many Canadian companies, both large enterprise and SMEs, are developing business strategies to better understand and leverage trade relationships with China. This trade between Canadian and Chinese businesses is also being supported by government efforts to improve bilateral trade relations. We have seen this happening at the provincial level for a number of years, and are now seeing a huge effort on the part of the Canadian government to further trade and personal ties between Canada and China. As a mature market, investors looking to Canada for success should recognize that to be successful in Canada, you need to make a lasting investment and make efforts to build a Canadian organization. The companies that have seen success in Canada, including Huawei, took the time to learn and prepare for entering the market and have committed to building a Canadian organization. For those companies willing to make a long-term investment, there is support from Canadian companies and government at all levels for partnerships.

A1 The history of friendship and cooperation between China and Canada goes back many decades, and we believe there is a strong desire and the necessity in both countries to further strengthen the relationship. This is the first visit of the Chinese premier to Canada in 13 years, demonstrating the great importance attached by the Chinese government to further promote Sino-Canadian relations. Following a successful trip by PM Trudeau to China, it is very good timing for Premier Li to visit Canada to pursue initiatives to enhance trade and investment between China and Canada. Top-level communication and dialogue between the two countries are vital to mutual understanding and overall cooperation.

A2Canada has re-engaged with the world under the Liberal government, and in particular the global economy while recognizing the importance of China as the second-largest economy. Canadian and Chinese economies are quite complementary: Canada has vast natural resources and advanced technologies, and China represents a tremendous market for Canadian products. We believe a free trade agreement will definitely boost Canada's exports to China and benefit the Canadian industries and the people. What we need right now is a clear strategy and a result-driven action plan from the Liberal government to proceed the conclusion of the FTA. We hope and believe that the Canadian government can view the FTA as a very important propeller to enhance the bilateral trade and economic cooperation and conclude this agreement with vigor.

A3The AIIB aims to promote broad-based economic and social development in Asia through investment and financing in infrastructure and other productive sectors and promote regional cooperation. The decision of Canada to apply to join AIIB shows its confidence in the Asian development perspective and the strong foundations the bank has built.

By becoming a member of the AIIB, Canada and Canadian companies will be able to access Asian markets through a new channel and considerable new opportunities will arise for exports and investment for Canadian companies. This is a good vehicle for Canada to enhance market access in Asia and to share its capabilities and advantages in infrastructure, clean energy, water supply and sanitation, etc.

A4 Better government-level cooperation always leads to more economic and trade contacts and increasing confidence on the enterprises level. Chinese enterprises as well as Canadian enterprises should capitalize on this. Chinese enterprises in Canada should seize this historical opportunity to further improve their profile and also to contribute more to the economic and social development of Canada. With a strategic goal of "Serving Society, Delivering Excellence", Bank of China (Canada) is committed to enhancing trade and investment in Canada, and strong state-to-state relations go a long way in helping us to achieve this.

In this year, Bank of China got a schedule III bank license, and a new branch will soon be established in Toronto, showcasing the long-term commitment that Bank of China has to Canada and to furthering economic exchanges between the two countries.

A1 Economic complementaries exist in the China-Canada bilateral investment and trade relationship. In the past decade, we have seen Canada's industrial sectors such as natural resources and derived goods; agriculture and agri-food; clean technologies and environmental goods and services. Machinery and equipment contributed a significant share to China's economic growth. During the same time, Canada shared China's prosperity in terms of FDI (foreign direct investment), trade, tourism, foreign students. From an economic perspective, we see cooperation rather than competition between the two countries. Li's visit will definitely promote a new "golden era" with Canada for the economic cooperation and prosperity of both countries.

A2 By the end of 2015, RMB became one of the three most used currencies in global trading along with USD and EUR and represented one third of China's total cross-border trade volume. In recent years, China has been promoting RMB use in foreign trade and cross-border investment as well as establishing offshore RMB centres.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Canada) is very fortunate to be designated by PBOC as the only RMB settlement bank in Canada. We signed RMB settlement agreements with local major banks last year and are ready for facilitation. We will commit our effort in promoting the use of RMB, and we hope local businesses could be part of it as well.

A3 It is expected that Canada will be the first North American country to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is a great initiative that shows Canada's global view and responsibility. The prime minister has played a key role in establishing a bilateral beneficial partnership between the two countries, just as what his father did 45 years ago.

For Canada, being part of AIIB will build up and strengthen its relationship with emerging regions and countries that are increasingly important to its economic prosperity in the future.

Interviewed by Na Li from Toronto.

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