By Christopher Bodeen | AP By Christopher Bodeen | AP December 4 at 7:43 a.m.
BEIJING – Canada expects a trade agreement with China to reflect "Canadian values" in the areas of labor rights, environmental protection and gender equality, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday at the start of a visit to China. four days to China.
Trudeau also said that he and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had agreed on a joint statement on climate change and clean growth that established a plan for close collaboration, including regular meetings at the ministerial level.
Li said the two countries will continue to work on exploratory talks and feasibility studies for a trade agreement, and that their discussions have also touched on human rights and the rule of law.
"Both parties should see that, due to different national circumstances, it is natural that we are not face to face on some issues.While we act on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, then we can seek mutual understanding and further promote this bilateral relationship, "Li said.
It is not clear how close the countries are to a trade agreement, and Trudeau's proposal to incorporate issues of governance, environment and gender equality goes against China's inclination to keep those issues separate.
"We believe that properly done, a trade agreement will benefit both countries, create jobs, strengthen the middle clbad and grow our economies," said Trudeau. "It's an opportunity that makes sense for Canadian companies, Canada is and has always been a commercial nation, but the outlook for trade is changing and we have to adjust to it."
He said that Canada was committed to "seeking progressive trade that benefits everyone", both with China and with other economies. partners, describing that as "Trade that prioritizes people and reflects Canadian values, especially when it comes to work, the environment and gender".
Trudeau and Li also presided over the signing of agreements on food imports, education and energy cooperation.
China has positioned itself as an important advocate of free trade, particularly since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Transpacific Partnership, a pan-Pacific trade agreement. However, foreign companies often complain that China closes many key areas for foreign investment, and it is known that Xi favors a centralized economic model with special support for state industries.
Canada has remained part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. During the recent talks in Danang, Vietnam, Trudeau lobbied for strong provisions on environmental protection, labor rights and gender issues, and the name of the initiative was changed to become the global and progressive agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. .
imports wood and agricultural products, minerals, fuels and seafood from Canada, while Canada imports machinery, furniture and sporting goods and textiles from China. The trade imbalance has been reduced, but China still had a surplus of around $ 17 billion with Canada during the first half of this year, according to the Canadian government.
Accompanied by four cabinet ministers, Trudeau began the day with a visit to a Chinese social networking giant spoke about the advantages of traveling to his homeland.
In Sina, owner of the popular Twitter-type Weibo microblogging service, Trudeau participated in a roundtable discussion that addressed Canadian tourist attractions, as well as the nation's beer and wine, according to Chinese and Canadian reports.
Next year marks the year of tourism between China and Canada and Canada expects to double the number of arrivals of Chinese tourists.
The ties between China and Canada have long been close, and under Trudeau, the two heads of government have agreed to meet annually in addition to holding a series of dialogues on various topics.
In comments at the beginning of his meetings at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing, Li commented on the closeness of the relationship.
"It is rare to have such an intimate and close relationship where we exchange mutual visits along with those dialogues," Li told Trudeau in remarks at the beginning of their meeting. "Relations between China and Canada are heading towards a golden age."
Trudeau will meet with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.
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