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News > World

Trudeau Arrives in China for Bilateral Talks, First Stop Weibo Social Media Town Hall

  • Trudeau is due to meet with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

    Trudeau is due to meet with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 December 2017
Opinion

Trudeau is scheduled to meet with high-ranking Chinese official Premier Li Keqiang for bilateral talks late Monday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Beijing, on Sunday, for an official visit.

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Trudeau's first stop was at social media giant Sina Weibo's headquarters, where he hosted a town hall with young Chinese social media stars who recently traveled to Canada.

“We have to learn as a planet not to be afraid of someone who is different,” Trudeau said, referring to his travel to China in the early 1990s.

“It’s a great path forward for friendship,” he added. “I hope to see you all in Canada very soon.”

Trudeau is scheduled to meet with high-ranking Chinese official Premier Li Keqiang for bilateral talks late Monday.

The prime minister will move to strengthen tourism ties between the two countries, as well as hold environment, governance, labor and gender issues talks.

Canadians, through a consultation, expressed skepticism regarding Trudeau's ambitious pursuits. A wide cross-section of the population recognized that forging partnerships and growing a relationship with China will create economic opportunities and expand trade between the two nations.

But others were concerned about labor and environmental regulations in the Asian country, specifically how Canadian firms will fair against state-owned enterprises.

In September, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a "business checklist" and urged the government "to intensify its economic relationship" with China.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, China has positioned itself as the top advocate for free trade.

Former Canadian cabinet minister Perrin Beatty said, in a Xinhua interview, that Canada should explore alternatives to relations with the United States, which is responsible for about 64 percent of its trades.

"The American market is enormously seductive for us. We speak the same language, have the same system of laws, know each other by having done business together for a long time, and can fly to an American city in the morning and be home for dinner back in Canada," Beatty explained.

"As a consequence, we're missing out on opportunities to get into high-growth economies like China's," said Beatty. "If we are wise, we should be looking to diversify our trade."

Trudeau is due to meet with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

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