* Canada wants to boost relatively modest trade with China
* Beef deal should allow resumption of beef, tallow exports
* Canada keen to sell oil to China
By David Ljunggren
BEIJING, Feb 8 China and Canada on
Wednesday signed a series of agreements to boost modest levels
of bilateral trade, including a deal that Ottawa said should
allow the immediate resumption of Canadian beef and tallow
exports after a nine-year pause.
The deals were inked in Beijing's Great Hall of the People
by Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who
arrived on Tuesday with a large trade delegation in a bid to
ramp up exports and reduce Canada's reliance on the huge U.S.
"The agreements being signed today, in such a wide range of
areas, are further testimony that we are taking relations to the
next level and further strengthening our strategic partnership,"
Harper said in a statement.
Harper is particularly keen to increase exports of oil,
citing the need to diversify away from the United States, which
is the largest importer of Canadian energy.
Canadian officials said the deal on beef should allow the
immediate resumption of beef and tallow exports, which Beijing
halted in 2003 after Canada discovered a case of mad cow
China committed itself in 2010 to resuming trade in Canadian
beef and tallow. However, commercial trade has not resumed
because of Beijing's standing restrictions on beef containing
the growth enhancer ractopamine.
The two sides also wrapped up 18 years of negotiations on a
foreign investment promotion and protection agreement, but gave
few details. Both nations will need to conduct a legal review of
the deal and then sign and ratify it before it can take effect.
The relatively small amount of bilateral trade - which
amounted to less than C$60 billion ($59.4 billion) in 2010 -
shows how much potential there is for growth.
Harper said Canadian investment in China rose by 39 percent
in 2010 from 2009 to hit nearly C$5 billion. Chinese investment
in Canada the same year totalled $14 billion, an increase of 9
percent from 2009.
Canada says it is determined to open up new markets and
reduce reliance on the United States, which takes about 75
percent of all Canadian exports.
Ottawa intensified its calls to diversify exports last month
after Washington vetoed a pipeline that would have carried crude
from the western province of Alberta to Texas.
China does not import any Canadian oil, but says it is
interested in doing so. The two nations also signed an extension
of a memorandum of understanding on energy issues covering oil,
gas and nuclear energy as well as trade and investment.
"This agreement will increase opportunities to attract
capital investment, and improve access to markets for Canada's
energy resources, technology and related services," a Canadian
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Ken Wills and Ron