Canada's government is pushing to strengthen its diplomatic ties with China to push through new deals on free trade and other issues, according to a leading official.
John McCallum, the country's ambassador to China, has confirmed to Bloomberg that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is seeking to deepen the relationship between the two nations, while expressing confidence that China is similarly keen.
Talks on both free trade and extradition treaty stipulations have already begun, with Canada holding public consultations on whether to proceed with trade negotiations. The next round of exploratory talks are scheduled for this spring.
Mr McCallum said: "We certainly want more trade, we certainly want more investment, we want more tourists, more cooperation in many different areas. Both sides want to move forward in general; I think such a deal can be achieved, but it's a lot of work."
However, he noted that although Chinese premier Xi Jinping has voiced support for the principle of free trade in the past, the country continues to impose significant tariff barriers - an issue on which Canada wants to see progress.