Prime Minister Stephen Harper has arrived in Vladivostok, Russia for the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders’ summit on the weekend.
Before heading overseas, Mr. Harper told a business audience in Vancouver Thursday that the onus is on China to show its state-run enterprises can be trusted to play by the same rules as Canada.
Mr. Harper will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the summit.
Appearing at Bloomberg’s Canada-Asia Dialogue conference, Mr. Harper was grilled on how his government wants to deepen trade with a country that sparks suspicion because it might not play by the same rules as Canada.
Mr. Harper said it’s “incumbent upon the Chinese to indicate, as the relationship goes forward, their willingness to play by the same rules.”
Mr. Harper said he wants to deepen economic relations with China but that relationship must be a two-way street, or “win-win to use the Chinese expression.”
He said Canada can conduct its relations respectfully, “but (is) not afraid to further our own interests and to raise our own concerns on things like human rights.” He added that Canada has “important things that the Chinese want.”
Mr. Harper was referring to China’s voracious need for energy and natural resources to power its economic growth.
China has already invested heavily in Canada’s natural resources sector, but that has sparked concern because its players are state-owned entities, not private companies.