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Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper will pay an official visit to China
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pay an official visit to China from November 6 to 10. As Xinhua news agency reported, the Canadian prime minister will arrive in China at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the PRC State Council. The visit will take place ahead of the APEC summit in Beijing.
According to Canadian media reports, Harper’s task will be to improve relations between the two countries, which have cooled in recent years despite the fact that China is the second most important economic partner of Canada. The last time Harper was in China was in 2012. Since then, Canada has restricted Chinese state investment in oil sands in Alberta and has not yet responded to an invitation to negotiate a free trade agreement between the two countries. In addition, in the summer, Ottawa publicly accused the Chinese of cyber-attack on government computers.
Inside the ruling Conservative Party, there are serious contradictions about relations with China. "China is a difficult partner for any government, this is a difficult field with high stakes," said Paul Evans, a professor at the University of British Columbia. However, according to him, the position of Harper is complicated by the fact that a significant part of the conservative cabinet, party caucus and voters of the Conservative Party are very negatively disposed towards China.
However, according to the National Post, during a visit to Beijing, Stephen Harper will announce an important agreement to organize trade in Chinese currency in Toronto, which will allow Canadian companies to buy yuan directly. Currently, Canadian firms have to change Canadian dollars into American dollars to buy yuan. Such an arrangement would save millions of dollars in trade between the two countries.