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Remarks by Chargé d'affaires Wang Wentian at Reception Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of CCFS-O

Mr. Roy Atkinson, President of CCFS-Ottawa,

Mr. Peter Larson, the Founding President,

All the other distinguished members,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Good evening! Bonsoir晚上好!

Tonight we happily get together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of Canada-China Friendship Society of Ottawa. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, let me begin by first warmly congratulating the 40th birthday of CCFS. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

It is worth mentioning that the first president of CCFS, Mr. Peter Larson and some of the founding members of CCFS are here with us tonight. Let's give them a big round of applause for their presence tonight and outstanding contributions to China Canada friendship.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As members of CCFS, all of you are witnesses of the China-Canada friendship. The year of 2016 marked a profound development of our bilateral relations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Li Keqiang exchanged visits within a month, which is quite unique in the history of bilateral relations. These two visits have greatly pushed forward the development of China-Canada relations and opened the new golden decade of our relations. In my view, there are three major characteristics of current China Canada relations:

First, political mutual trust has been further enhanced. The two sides agreed to establish the Annual Dialogue between the Chinese Premier and the Canadian Prime Minister, which means that our top leaders will meet with each other annually. China-Canada Economic and Financial Strategic Dialogue has been upgraded to a Vice Premier level. And both sides agreed to give full play to the role of the existing high-level dialogues and consultation mechanisms.

Second, pragmatic cooperation has been further expanded. During the two high level visits, several dozens of wide-ranging business agreements were signed, which amounted to a total of 7.2 billion Canadian dollars. Both sides agreed to set a goal of doubling the bilateral trade volume by the year of 2025 on the basis of 2015 statistics. Both sides agreed to launch exploratory discussions on China-Canada FTA as soon as possible.

I am happy to say that much progress was made after the high-level visits.

In November, Canada’s minister of Agriculture visited China with more than 100 Canadian industry representatives, a huge business delegation with more than 80 companies and institutions from Alberta visited China and many business agreements were signed. National Bank of Canada (NBC) issued a 3.5 billion Chinese yuan panda bond, being the first North American financial institution to do so. BMO became one of the first market makers for direct trading between Chinese yuan and Canadian dollar in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.

Third, people-to-people exchanges have been further intensified. The two sides agreed to achieve the goal of doubling the two-way personnel exchanges by 2025 on basis of 2015 statistics. Both sides will seize the opportunity of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Canada in 2017 to attract more Chinese tourists into Canada. The Chinese side agreed that Canada would set up seven new visa application centres in China. The two sides will also further strengthen cooperation in the areas of winter sports, health and etc.

Dear friends,

Let us take a moment to think about the latest development of China’s economic development. Although the economy still faces downward pressure, I am happy to say that China will be able to achieve its main economic targets this year and maintain medium-to high-speed growth. China’s economy in the third quarter showed many positive changes. The key economic indicators such as factory output, profits and investment, have rebounded. More than 10 million new urban jobs were created in the first nine months, with the survey-based jobless rate falling below 5% in September. China’s economy grew 6.7% in the first three quarters. The government is aiming for annual economic growth of 6.5-7% in 2016. China is still the second largest economy in the world, China’s development means opportunities for the countries in the whole world, including Canada.

Dear Friends,

2016 is an extraordinary year in the history of China-Canada relations. Our bilateral relations have received very good momentum. We should translate the opportunities and prospects of cooperation into reality through our joint efforts. CCFS has been dedicated in promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between people of two countries for all these past years. You've done a truly remarkable job. It is my hope that CCFS could continue to play an active role in furthering the China-Canada relation since the members of CCFS are not only witnesses but also builders and supporters to our bilateral relations.

To conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to pay our tribute to all CCFS members for your contributions in promoting the friendship and mutual understanding between the peoples of our two countries.

As the year of 2017 is approaching, I wish you all happiness, good health and the best of luck in the years to come.

Thank you!

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