Senator Oh is featured alongside the Prime Minister shaking hands with Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, upon his arrival at the Great Hall of the People
Honourable senators, from November 5 to 10, I had the privilege of joining Prime Minister Harper on his third official visit to China. We received a warm reception from the Chinese during our visit to the city of Hangzhou and the capital city of Beijing.
Honourable senators, the purpose of this trip was clear. Trade promotion was at the top of
the agenda, as is the case for many Canadian businesses. We also had productive exchanges on the Canada-China bilateral relationship, and agreed to increase people-to-people ties in areas such as culture. To promote mutual understanding, both governments announced 2015-16 as the Canada-China cultural year.
As a member of both the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, I have heard from industry associations, department officials and academic experts. The witnesses have urged the government to take a more active role in engaging the Asia-Pacific region. This high-level visit to China was a way to accomplish this goal. I would like to share with you a few highlights from this trip.
First, the government expanded its trade network in China by announcing the establishment of four new Canadian trade offices. This brings the total number of cities with a trade office to 15. It also provides Canadian businesses in China with the on-the- ground tools needed to succeed abroad.
Second, after multiple rounds of negotiations, Toronto has been chosen as the first city in North America to have an offshore renminbi centre. This measure will reduce transaction costs and help Canadian firms to do business in China.
Finally, to the delight of our agricultural sector, China has agreed to increase market access for fresh blueberries and cherries from Canada. We hope that these measures will be the beginning of even greater access for our agriculture products in the region.
Honourable senators, I am pleased to report that these meetings between China and Canada have been very productive. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, I am proud of the achievements we have made through this visit.
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