Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has arrived in China for a four-day visit aimed at improving bilateral ties, including strained trade relations.
This is Mr. Harper's first trip to China since taking office in 2006. The prime minister is scheduled to meet Thursday with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other officials in Beijing.
The Canada Tibet Committee has made an appeal yesterday to the Prime Minister "to look beyond the gloom and doom scenarios painted by Canadian business leaders regarding Canada’s trading relationship with China."
CTC executive director Dermod Travis said Prime Minister Harper has no reason to shy away from a frank exchange with Chinese leaders over China’s dismal human rights record because of trade. “When it comes to waving trade as a stick, the record shows that China is all bluster and no bite.”
After leaving the Chinese capital, Mr. Harper will travel to Shanghai, where he will deliver a speech to a group of businessmen. He will then travel to Hong Kong to address another business audience.While in China, Mr. Harper is expected to discuss climate change, bilateral trade and fiscal policy. It is not clear whether he will raise the issue of foreign exchange policy.
Mr. Harper angered China in 2006 with remarks about China's human rights record, and he did not attend the 2008 Summer Olympic Games held in Beijing. Canada also recently imposed high tariffs on imports of Chinese steel pipes.
Tuesday, China announced the removal of a ban on Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. pork products, put in place after the swine flu outbreak that began in Mexico earlier this year.
Some information for this report was provided by Phayul, AFP and Reuters.