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Chinese diplomat on trade deal with Canada: ‘The time is right’

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WATERLOO — In today’s interdependent global economy, Canada and China can mutually benefit from closer economic ties, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, Zhang Junsai, said on Thursday.

Zhang, who is known for being unusually outspoken for a Chinese diplomat, told an audience at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo that “there is no going back to protectionism.”

He also said investments such as the China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s bid to take over Calgary oil company Nexen Inc. is not something to be feared.

It should be seen as a sign that companies in China, which have the liquidity to invest overseas, are seeing the potential of economic relations with Canada. That can be a “win-win” for both nations, he said.

Canada and China don’t have a full free-trade agreement, but the two countries recently signed an investment promotion and protection agreement after 18 years of negotiations. Zhang said when people ask him ...

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