June 6 (UPI) — Outreach with China extends to potential trade opportunities in the area of clean energy and clean technologies, Canada’s natural resources minister said.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr left Monday for a weeklong trade visit to China with a delegation that includes representatives from the energy and clean technology sectors.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in April spoke with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, to discuss ways to tackle climate change and cooperate in new trade areas such as clean energy. In a readout of his itinerary, Carr’s department said the minister would deliver a keynote address on advancing a low-carbon agenda for Chinese relations.
“Minister Carr will host a number of roundtables with industry and meet with his Chinese counterparts to advance collaborative efforts on clean energy and pursue trade opportunities to diversify international markets for Canadian resources, including wood products and clean technologies,” the department’s scheduling note read.
The visit follows a decision last week by U.S. President Donald Trump to start the process of leaving the international Paris climate treaty. Speaking at a trade summit last week, European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker said the responsibility to tackle climate change was now with other lead economies like his and China’s.
Canada’s outreach with China is part of a common theme for 2017, with leaders from oil-rich Alberta reaching out to Beijing early this year. In May, the Canadian government issued a public call to weigh in on the possibilities of reaching a free-trade agreement with China as the Central Bank of Canada warned that some of the protectionist policies from the Trump administration were leaving many economists and corporations guessing.
Canada is largely landlocked and relies almost entirely on the United States as its export destination for oil, a primary export commodity. Trump has advanced energy issues in Canada’s favor, like the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but introduced a 20 percent tariff on soft lumber from Canada, another one of the country’s top exports.
Speaking last week on climate issues, meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former head of oil company Exxon Mobil, called for pragmatism on Trump’s climate decision.
“It was a policy decision and I think it’s important that everyone recognize the United States has a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions,” he said in a statement. “I don’t think we’re going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce those emissions in the future either, so hopefully people can keep it in perspective.”