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Trudeau says, Canada will keep exploring trade deal with China

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Canada will continue to explore a free trade agreement with China, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday, as it weighs its options after the United States threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Speaking after a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Trudeau said if “done properly”, such an agreement would benefit both countries and strengthen the middle class.

“It’s an opportunity that makes sense for Canadian businesses,” he said at the start of a five-day trip to China. “Canada is and always has been a trading nation. But the landscape of trade is shifting and we need to adjust to it.”

Li said China remained open to exploring a free trade deal with Canada as part of joint efforts to safeguard world trade liberalization and advance globalization.

“We have an open attitude toward the process of negotiations, and an open attitude towards their contents,” Li said.

But Trudeau, aware of domestic unease at the idea, is moving slowly. Although polls consistently show Canadians are split over the merits of a trade deal, Canada needs to diversify exports to offset the possible damage done if the United States pulls out of NAFTA.

Trudeau’s visit, which began on Sunday, comes as plane maker Bombardier Inc is eager to win a breakthrough order from Chinese carriers for its CSeries jet, whose fuselage is made in China.

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