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Engagement with China opens opportunities for Canadians

Lessening Canada’s dependency on existing markets only makes good economic sense.

Lessening Canada’s dependency on existing markets only makes good economic sense.

Through the hard work of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a number of other members of cabinet, our government has secured new markets for Canadian products, including a number of new free trade deals.

Our strategy is working. And now we’re seeing positive signals from a major, if sometimes elusive, market – China.

A good example of the headway we’ve made with China could be seen on Canada Day when Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz hosted a beef barbecue at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

The symbolism was important. It marked the first time in a decade that Canadian beef was available in China and it came just days after our Government’s June 24th announcement of a breakthrough agreement to allow staged market access for beef and tallow in China.

That deal made Canada the first country in the world to resume trade in beef with China since the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in 2003. Once fully realized, the agreement will mean new annual exports of $110 million for Canadian cattle producers.

Our recent achievements in China are a result of engagement. Our agriculture minister has made three trade missions to the country in less than a year to promote Canadian product and push to remove trade restrictions.

But our success has not been limited to agriculture.

Last year, our tourism industry received a huge boost when China granted Approved Destination Status to Canada. The deal opens the gates for tourists from that country and will pump millions of dollars into Canada's tourism industry. That’s a particularly important development for our local tourism operators in the Bow Valley.

Our efforts to gain greater access to China’s large economy are working and, more importantly, the success we’ve enjoyed has not come at the expense of our principles. Canada continues to raise the issues surrounding human rights and democracy in China in a balanced way that allows us to work with the Chinese to better our economy at the same time.

Our government will continue to champion the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law while working with the Chinese to improve trading opportunities that will benefit all Canadians.

Airdrie City View Staff

About the Author: Airdrie City View Staff

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