January 20, 2017
Officials from the governments of Canada and China are expected to meet in Beijing next month to begin exploratory talks towards a mutual free trade agreement.
The talks are initiated following a meeting in September between Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and the Premier of of China, Li Keqiang where the two leaders agreed to launch exploratory discussions for a possible Canada-China Free Trade Agreement.
The Beijing meeting will help determine the interest of the two sides for such an agreement, including the concerns and needs of the private sector, from manufacturing to agriculture, services, banking, etc.
Full-fledged free trade agreements often take several years to negotiate. Alex Lawrence, a spokesman for the new Canadian Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne, told media that there is no predefined number of meetings for the exploratory discussions and that talks will continue until Canada is satisfied that it has sufficient information on China's intentions.