Last Updated on December 15, 2016
Justin Trudeau is continuing Canada’s push for greater ties with China as he visits the Asian nation this week.
The Prime Minister said in Beijing that China could begin to improve its international standing by boosting its relationship with Canada.
Trudeau attempted to play on the lack of trust the world has in the rising Far East superpower, suggesting that a better relationship with a country like Canada could ease what he called ‘anxiety around China’.
Increased business ties with China is a key Liberal strategy to inject some momentum into the Canadian economy.
A free trade deal is on the table, although Canada is understood to be reluctant to go this far because of the human rights concerns that plague China’s reputation on the world stage.
Trudeau said his country was more open to trade than other tier one nations, and had a lasting and enduring friendship with the Chinese. He also said Canadians were less wary of the ‘tremendous appetite’ of the Chinese business community for expanding into new frontiers.
China is understood to be keen for Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, something that Trudeau was again positive about during his appearance in Beijing.
Canada’s leader is in China with his family for a six-day official visit ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit in Hangzhou on September 4 and 5.
His visit was preceded by a trip from Immigration Minister John McCallum, who used his time in China to deliver the message that Canada’s borders are open to more immigrants.
Canada is keen to open a swathe of new visa centres in the Asian country, to make it easier for Chinese nationals to process the documents required to study, work or visit here.
McCallum sought quick approval to open centres in Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Jinan and Shenyang by 2017, and five more after that. He also wants more flights between the two countries.
McCallum wants to double the numbers of Chinese students and tourists coming to Canada.
International student numbers as of 2015 already have China way out in front of all other nationalities, at nearly 120,000.
As part of changes due in the fall, the Liberals plan to give as many students as possible the right to stay after they graduate.
Currently China, although in the top five, is beaten by citizens of the Philippines and India on numbers of new permanent residents in the first quarter of 2016.
Syrians top the list following the drive to welcome refugees since the Liberals came to power.
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