Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in an event at Sina Weibo Headquarters in Beijing, China on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, to promote Canada-China tourism. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
BEIJING — It's reported by AP that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began a visit to China on Monday with a stop at the headquarters of China's most popular social media company, Sina Weibo as as part of an attempt to promote Canada as a tourist destination and to launch the 2018 year of tourism between the two countries.
Accompanied by four Cabinet ministers, Trudeau was due to hold talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday before meeting with President Xi Jinping tomorrow.
At Sina, owner of the phenomenally popular Twitter-like Weibo microblogging service, Trudeau took part in a panel discussion that touched on Canadian tourism draws, as well as the nation's beer and wine, according to Chinese and Canadian reports.
Next year marks the China-Canada year of tourism and Canada is hoping to double the number of Chinese tourist arrivals.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Beijing, China on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
China and Canada are also in exploratory talks on a framework for a trade agreement, although reports say Ottawa has been pushing for provisions on the environment, governance, labor and gender issues.
Beijing generally seeks to avoid references that might highlight the one-party authoritarian state's human rights record.
China has positioned itself as a leading advocate of free trade, particularly since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Yet foreign businesses complain often that China closes many key areas to foreign investment, while Xi is known to favor a centralized economic model with special support for state-owned industries.
Canada has remained part of a pan-Pacific trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, even after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. During recent talks in Danang, Vietnam, Trudeau lobbied for strong provisions for environmental protection, labor rights, and gender issues and the name of the initiative was altered to be the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
China largely imports wood and agricultural products, ore, fuels and seafood from Canada, while Canada imports machinery, furniture and sporting goods and textiles from China. The trade imbalance has narrowed, but China still ran a surplus of about $17 billion with Canada during the first half of this year, according to the Canadian government.