Trudeau begins first visit to China

Trudeau begins first visit to China

Beijing, Aug 30 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday began his first official visit to China to improve economic ties and boost bilateral relations.

Trudeau, who will be in China from August 30 till September 6, will visit the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong besides participating in the G20 summit next week at Hangzhou, EFE news reported.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregorie Trudeau and daughter Ella-Grace, along with his delegation that includes Foreign Minister Stephane Dion, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

During his visit, Trudeau is expected to push trade ties with China and discuss a possible free trade agreement, as well as the eventual inclusion of Canada in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

He is also likely to discuss the human rights situation in China and the difficulties faced by people who hold double-citizenship in the country.

Trudeau is also expected to meet Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, e-retail giant Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, and Hong Kong multimillionaire Li Ka-Shing, a shareholder in Canada-based Husky Energy, among others.

His job, however, will not be easy as ties between the two countries have been strained since 2012, when the Canadian government, led by Stephen Harper, imposed measures to restrict acquisition of oil sand companies after China National OffShore Oil Corporation agreed to purchase Canada’s Nexen.

Beijing, on its part, imposed strict restrictions on import of rapeseed oil from Canada, which it is expected to further strengthen in September.

Canada is also among the seven countries that came together to express concern over China’s claims in the South China Sea, which further upset Beijing.

“Canada was among the first western power to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1970 and I hope to start the process of rekindling bilateral ties,” said Trudeau.

China is Canada’s second largest trade partner after the US.

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