As the Chinese ambassador put it in his speech to the Manitoba-International Business Forum, “the bond of friendship and co-operation between China and Canada has been growing stronger.” During his visit, the Premier “expressed the readiness of the Chinese government to work together with the new Canadian leadership in cultivating a richer and more substantive partnership of all round co-operation between the two countries.” He continued: “China and Canada should work together to bring their economic partnership to a higher level,” explaining “China is planning to import more from Canada” so as to “double the volume of two-way trade by 2010.”
Wait – did he say 2010?
Déjà vu all over again! That Manitoba speech was given in 2003 by previous Chinese ambassador Mei Ping, after Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Canada. Then, in 2005, President Hu Jintao came to Canada, and with Prime Minister Paul Martin jointly announced a China-Canada “strategic partnership,” again promising doubling of trade – this time in just five years. (In fact, due to the global economic crisis of 2008, trade levels briefly actually dipped.)