BEIJING, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday agreed to explore a possible trade agreement between China and Canada.
Trudeau’s eight-day visit to China began on Tuesday: He met with Li in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Wednesday.
“China and Canada have multi-vector cooperation in trade and economy, the parties have agreed to prepare a feasibility study for the establishment of a free trade zone between China and Canada as soon as possible,” Li said at a joint press conference with Trudeau.
Li said both Canada and China will defend the liberalization of international trade and the promotion of a simpler implementation of investments in the international community.
The two countries did not reach an agreement during Trudeau’s visit about canola — a key Canadian export. China agreed to extend a deadline on Thursday for new quality inspections but no long-term solution was reached. A decrease in Chinese imports of Canadian canola threatens Canada’s agricultural community.
They also failed to come to agreement on the issue of Kevin Garratt, a Canadian held in China who faces charges of stealing government secrets. Canadian authorities say they are worried about Garratt’s health, as he has an irregular heartbeat.
“China is a country of the rule of law, and the judicial authorities in China will handle judicial cases in strict accordance with the law,” Li said after Trudeau mentioned that he brought up Garratt’s case to Chinese authorities. “The individuals concerned will also be treated in a humanitarian way.”