Flaherty, Carney China bound

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney are heading to China this week to meet with Chinese government officials and business leaders.

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney are heading to China this week to meet with Chinese government officials and business leaders.

The pair will be accompanied by Julie Dickson, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, as well as other key Canadian government officials and financial industry executives.

The group will be in China from Aug. 8 to Aug. 14.

Flaherty said China is one of Canada’s most important trading partners.

“Much like Canada, China has managed to escape many of the negative effects of the crisis, and it is clear that our two countries must see how we can continue to work together,” Flaherty said. “Not surprisingly, today most of Canada’s large financial institutions are active in China and they are looking to expand. The Canadian financial sector is also eager to partner with Chinese companies in their global transactions.”

Relations between Ottawa and Beijing had been seriously strained when the Conservatives came to power in 2006, following a series of statements and policy moves that rankled the Chinese.

Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had been named an honorary Canadian citizen; Canada was actively protesting the imprisonment of Chinese-Canadian Huseyin Celil; and Harper used remarkably strong language in referring to his concern over human rights in China.

However, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made a two-day visit to Ottawa in June that was warmly received by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and senior cabinet ministers.

Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon have also made high-profile tours to China.

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