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Remarks by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui At the Public Launch of Nova Scotia-China Engagement Strategy
2016/05/11
 

Halifax, 28 April 2016

The Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia,

Ms. Laurel Broten, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc,

Mr. Kevin Lynch, Vice Chairman of BMO Financial Group

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Thank you very much, Premier McNeil, for your emotional remarks.

Today is a big day. It is the day for the launch of the Nova Scotia China Engagement Strategy. I am delighted to join you all to witness this important moment.

As I understand it, the Nova Scotia China Engagement Strategy is Canada's first China-specific cooperation scheme issued by a provincial government. Nova Scotia is indeed making history. Let's not forget it is an Atlantic province, far away from the Pacific.

The Strategy sends out three important messages.

First, Nova Scotia values Canada-China relations in general and Nova Scotia-China ties in particular. China is Canada's second largest trading partner. The bilateral trade reached $60 billion last year. China is also Nova Scotia's second largest trading partner. Last year China's imports from Nova Scotia increased 50 per cent to $420 million. This figure is almost the same as Nova Scotia's exports to EU countries. Given the prospects of a shortcut Northwest Passage cargo shipping route connecting China and North America, there is great potential for our bilateral trade.

Second, Nova Scotia has confidence in China's economic development. While some people are predicting a collapse or a hard landing of China's economy, Nova Scotia is optimistic about China's economy and confident in opportunities and potential for cooperation with China. China is implementing its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020) and pursuing an innovation-driven, co-ordinated, green, open, and inclusive development. China's middle-income population is over 100 million, exceeding that of the United States. China's demand for oil and natural gas will increase as well as its middle-income residents' appetite for Canadian lobsters. More parents will send their children abroad for studies. I am sure Nova Scotia can definitely meet some of such demands, if not all.

Third, as a Chinese saying goes, a tall man can see far ahead. I know that Premier Mcneil is the tallest politician in Canada. It is with vision that Premier McNeil and his government have come up with an ambitious plan to further develop relations with China. In implementing the strategy, Nova Scotia sets a good example for other provinces and territories to promote cooperation with China and share China's development dividends.

Mr. Premier, you've been to China twice since you took office. Your visits have contributed to province-to-province and city-to-city exchanges and cooperation between our two countries. I hope your third Chins trip will be equally successful.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have carefully read the Strategy document. Personally I think it is comprehensive, insightful as well as ambitious. The document is based on an analysis of China-Canada relationship, past and present. It proposes specific and operable policy recommendations for cooperation between Nova Scotia and China. It is a beautiful document. To make it even more beautiful, we need to work together to put the Strategy into practice. To this end, the two sides may wish to focus on the following four aspects.

First, we need to expand our trade. I am sure you would agree that there is a huge gap between your trade with China and with the United States. We need to tap into the potential for trade in sea food and agriculture while identifying opportunities in other areas like maritime technology and bio-tech manufacturing.

Take lobster for example. China's demand for Canadian lobsters grows significantly. On November 11 2014, which is Chinese version of Black Friday, 90,000 live lobsters from Canada were sold to China through the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. When I visited Nova Scotia in 2014, a Clearwater executive told me that live Nova Scotia lobsters could be delivered to China in 18 hours via the Republic of Korea. I'm afraid lobsters would not be able to overcome their jet lag before they are served on Chinese consumers' table. Nova Scotia wild blueberries are also popular in Chinese market.

Second, we need to consider some big projects of cooperation. I am happy to see that the Halifax Port has established a sister port relationship with China's Shenzhen Port. I have also learnt that a Chinese company is working with the Port of Sydney on some form of cooperation. I wish their endeavour a success. We will also encourage more Chinese energy companies to participate in the offshore energy development projects in Nova Scotia.

Third, we need to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in education, tourism and people-to-people bonds. There are more than 140,000 Chinese students in Canada, among them 3,200 are studying in Nova Scotia, accounting for 40 per cent of international students in the province. We will encourage more young Chinese to pursue studies here and we also welcome more Canadian students studying in China.

Last year Canada-bound Chinese tourist visits exceeded half a million. Chinese tourists are not only visitors, but also generous shoppers. We are confident that the growing tourist visits will help enhance mutual understanding between our two peoples.

We will also encourage Chinese provinces and cities to establish twinning relationship with Nova Scotia and its cities. The friendly bonds of this kind have proved to be positive in strengthening cooperation at the local level.

Fourth, we need to advance the China-Canada strategic partnership at the national level. Cooperation at the provincial level cannot succeed without a sound overall relationship between the two countries. Forty-six years ago, under the Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Canada established diplomatic relations with China. Since Canada's new Liberal government took office last year, China-Canada relations have been growing with a robust momentum. Leaders of our two countries have met and charted the way forward for the growth of bilateral relations. It is very likely that our leaders will exchange visits this year. The sound development of China-Canada overall relations will provide an enabling environment for cooperation at the provincial and local levels.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The timing of the Strategy launch couldn't be better. The Chinese Embassy is willing to work with the Nova Scotia government and friends from all walks of life to implement the Strategy. We will play a role of bridge to promote and facilitate exchanges and cooperation between business sectors and educational institutions of China and Nova Scotia. I am hopeful and optimistic about a smooth and productive implementation of the Nova Scotia China Engagement Strategy.

Thank you very much.

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