The relations between the People's Republic of China and Canada maintained a sound momentum of growth in 2012.
The two countries enjoyed frequent high-level exchanges. From 7 to 11 February, Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid an official visit to China. President Hu Jintao, NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao held meetings and talked with him. Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Harper and jointly attended the 5th China-Canada Business Cooperation Forum. Leaders of the two countries had in-depth exchange of views and reached important consensus on China-Canada relations, bilateral practical cooperation and major regional and international issues. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening China-Canada strategic partnership, agreed to follow the spirit of the China-Canada Joint Statement, and abide by the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to maintain close high-level exchanges, increase political trust, broaden practical cooperation, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and strengthen consultation and cooperation on regional and international issues. During the visit, the two sides issued a Joint List of Outcomes, and relevant departments and companies signed a number of agreements on economy, trade, energy, education, science and technology. In addition to Beijing, Prime Minister Harper also visited Guangzhou and Chongqing. On 16 February, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, when stopping over in Vancouver, met with Premier Christy Clark of British Columbia. From 27 to 29 March, CPPCC Vice Chairman Sun Jiazheng visited Canada, and met with Speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella. From 18 to 21 April, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Li Changchun visited Canada, and met with Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird. On 9 September, President Hu Jintao met with Prime Minister Harper on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Russia, and jointly witnessed the signing of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between the two countries. From 5 to 6 December, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Li Yuanchao had a stopover in Toronto, and met with Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario.
The two countries maintained close contacts at various levels. On 12 July, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with his Canadian counterpart John Baird during the ARF Foreign Minister's Meeting held in Cambodia. From 19 to 22 July, Foreign Minister Baird paid an unofficial visit to China and signed the Supplementary Protocol to China-Canada Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Minister Liu Tienan of the National Energy Administration. Minister of Health Chen Zhu, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, Vice Minister of Agriculture Zhang Taolin, Vice Minister of National Development and Reform Commission Sun Zhigang and Vice Minister of Water Resources Li Guoying made visits to Canada. Canadian cabinet ministers including Minister of Transport Denis Lebel and Minister of Environment Peter Kent visited China.
Practical cooperation between the two sides in various fields made fresh progress. Bilateral trade and investment continued to grow, with trade volume hitting a historic high. China is Canada's second largest trading partner and the seventh biggest source of investment. The two sides signed the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and the Supplementary Protocol to China-Canada Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, and released the Report on China-Canada Economic Complementarities study. The Canadian government approved the US$15.1 billion purchase of the Nexen Inc. by CNOOC Ltd., and the US$2.2 billion acquisition of a 49.9% interest in Encana Corporation's shale gas project in Duvernay, Alberta, by CNPC. The two sides held the 15th and the 16th meeting of the Exchange Mechanism between the National People's Congress of China and the Parliament of Canada, the 1st round of negotiations towards an agreement on the return and sharing of the proceeds of crime (i.e. the fourth round of consultation on judicial and law-enforcement cooperation), the 4th meeting of the Joint Working Group on Energy Cooperation, and the 23rd meeting of the Joint Committee on Economy and Trade. The Chinese naval training vessel Zheng He made a friendly call at the Port of Halifax. The two countries maintained close consultation on the reform of the United Nations, G20 and other major regional and international issues.
Contacts at the local level were active. In February, the Canadian Consulate in Chongqing was upgraded to Consulate General. From 13 to 21 September, the Council of Federation of Canada organized a joint visit to China by seven premiers, including Premier Darrell Dexter of Nova Scotia, Premier David Alward of New Brunswick, Premier Greg Selinger and Lieutenant Governor Philip S. Lee of Manitoba, Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island, Premier Alison Redford of Alberta, Premier Bob McLeod of Northwest Territories and Premier Darrell Pasloski of Yukon Territories. Vice Premier Wang Qishan had a meeting with the premiers' delegation. The number of sister provinces and cities between the two countries increased to 54.