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opinion

Cong Peiwu is China’s Ambassador to Canada

According to Canadian statistics, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 Canadian goods export fell by 11.8 per cent and outbound direct investment dropped by 37.7 per cent. In contrast, Canadian goods export to China expanded by 8.1 per cent, while its direct investment in China soared by 95.9 per cent year-over-year. These figures clearly show that Canadian business circles are unabated in their enthusiasm for economic and trade co-operation between Canada and China, and in their confidence in China’s economic development prospects.

They also once again show that the resource endowments and economic structures of China and Canada are highly complementary. China-Canada economic and trade co-operation are mutually beneficial in nature, and the “invisible hand” is playing an increasingly important role.

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At the same time, China-Canada relations are also affected by the “visible hand.” For well-known reasons, China-Canada relations have faced serious tensions in recent years. Instead of trying to solve the problem, for their own interest, some Canadian politicians have willfully manipulated Xinjiang-related rumours, blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs and further poisoned the atmosphere of relations between the two countries. In addition, someone in Canada claimed to reject the purchase of specific equipment from Chinese companies on the grounds of “national security.” There is no doubt that the “visible hand” has brought new interference to the relations between the two countries.

China has entered a new stage of development. For 2021, the start of the 14th Five-Year Plan, China has set a GDP target of more than 6 per cent. During this period, China will pursue high-level opening up, optimize and adjust import tariff policies, increase imports of high-quality products and services, further shorten negative lists for foreign investment, open up the service sector in an orderly way and protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign investors.

China’s development will continue to provide more market opportunities for the international community, including Canada, and bring more possibilities for deepening and expanding practical co-operation between our two countries. Canadian enterprises are welcome to share China’s open market and development opportunities, and board the fast train of China’s development.

China firmly upholds and promotes economic globalization and opposes unilateralism and protectionism. The Chinese side is dedicated to carrying out co-operation with other countries on the basis of respect, equality and mutual benefit, and in compliance with the WTO rules and market principles. The Chinese side also believes that one must not do to others what he does not like others to do to himself. We have always opposed politicizing and weaponizing economic and trade co-operation. We have never resorted to the so-called “economic coercion” with our own advantages, never deliberately set up obstacles to normal exchanges between the two sides, and never arbitrarily taken a corporate executive hostage as some countries have done for a certain purpose.

There is no doubt that a good political atmosphere is indispensable for deepening mutually beneficial co-operation between the two countries. A healthy and stable bilateral relationship will help enhance the confidence and expectations of both our countries’ enterprises. We hope that the Canadian side can respect the social system and development path chosen by the Chinese people, exert restraint on using the “visible hand” and do more things that are conducive to the improvement and development of bilateral relations.

We also hope that Canadians can view China objectively, support the development of China-Canada relations and promote win-win co-operation between our countries.

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