The Honorable Minister Catherine McKenna
The Honorable Senator Joseph DAY,MP Geng Tan, Co-chairs of CCLA,
Mr. Xue Jinsheng, President of the Chinese Community Association of Ottawa,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Evening. Happy Chinese New Year!
It is a great pleasure to join you at this annual Chinese New Year banquet on the Hill co-hosted by Chinese New Year Celebration Committee and CCLA.
This is the third year that I have been delighted to attend this outstanding event. I think this year's Spring Festival has special meaning for Chinese Canadians. Thanks to Mr. Geng Tan's motion in the parliament, starting from this year, 2017, the Canadian government will officially proclaim the first day of the lunar year as the beginning of the 15-day "Spring Festival".
This indicates that in Canada, the Chinese New Year is no more a festival only for Chinese Canadians, but also a common festival for all Canadians.
On this auspicious occasion, on behalf of the Chinese embassy in Canada, I wish you all a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year of the rooster.
The year 2016 saw fruitful results in the development of China-Canada strategic partnership relationship. The exchange of visits by Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has inputted great impetus to our bilateral ties.
We witnessed the first annual dialogue between Chinese Premier and Canadian Prime minister, the first annual dialogue of the Foreign Ministers, the first High-Level Dialogue on National Security and Rule of Law, and the meetings of Joint Economic and Trade Committee and joint Science and Technology Committee.
We witnessed multiple agreements on trade statistics, aviation, agriculture, consumer goods safety, customs etc. and dozens of bilateral business contracts, which totally amounted to 7.2 billion Canadian dollars.
Our two sides have agreed:
To upgrade the Economic and Financial Strategic Dialogue to Vice Premier level, which will be held in the second quarter of 2017.
To set new goals of doubling the bilateral trade volume and the two way visits respectively by the year 2025 on the basis of 2015 statistics.
To launch exploratory discussions on China-Canada FTA, which will be held on 20th February in Beijing.
To make 2018 the Year of Canada–China Tourism.
To develop cooperation in third-party markets, in combining China's production capacity with advanced Canadian technology to achieve mutual benefit and a win-win situation.
To strengthen financial co-operation. National Bank of Canada (NBC) issued a 3.5 billion Chinese yuan panda bond last November, the first North American financial institution to do so.
To foster an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.
To usher in a new era of global growth and sustainable development.
Looking into the new year of 2017, we are full of confidence in our bilateral relations. In 2017, we should join hands to materialize the consensus reached in 2016 and maintain the positive momentum of the development of our bilateral relations. We should further deepen the bilateral pragmatic cooperation in all fields.
When talking about our bilateral relations, we should never forget the contribution made by 1.5 million Chinese Canadians and Chinese residing in Canada. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to them for what they have done for the growth of China-Canada relations. It is my conviction that the Chinese community here will continue to make new contributions to the development of Sino-Canada friendship.
The world is facing a lot of uncertainties in 2017. Protectionism, unilateralism and anti-globalization are rising.
China and Canada are both important countries in Asia Pacific region. Sound and solid China-Canada relations will benefit not only our two peoples, but also peace and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.
Just as President Xi Jinping pointed out in his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum annual meeting that:
"As long as we keep to the goal of building a community of shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to fulfill our responsibilities and overcome difficulties, we will be able to create a better world and deliver better lives for our peoples."
In this spirit, China and Canada should keep our respective doors wide open for cooperation. We must uphold free trade and oppose protectionism. We must adhere to multilateralism and oppose unilateralism. We must stand for a new type of globalization that is open, inclusive and benefit-sharing.
According to the Chinese Horoscope calendar, 2017 is a year of the rooster. In Chinese culture, the rooster represents courage, kindness, hardworking and the spirit of striving for success. I think it is what we need most at the moment. In 2017, we should get up as early as the rooster and work harder and harder to make new contribution to our bilateral relations and to world peace, stability and security.