Canada's ratification of a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement with China signaled Ottawa's efforts to strengthen bilateral relations, a Canadian think tank expert told Xinhua on Thursday.
The ratification of the agreement ahead of this year's APEC meeting in Beijing is a signal that the Canadian government is looking toward strengthening its relations with China, said Domenico Lombardi, an expert on global economy from the Center for International Governance Innovation, a well-known Canadian think tank.
If this is the case, it is likely that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will prolong his stay in China in November, he said.
Harper is expected to attend an informal meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast announced on Sept. 12 that the investment agreement has been ratified and will come into force on Oct. 1.
The agreement, signed in 2012, sets a framework of legal obligations and rights aiming at promoting investment in each other's country. But its ratification was delayed as a result of domestic disputes in Canada.
Lombardi said the ratification of the agreement is an important step toward strengthening bilateral relations, after some recent strain.
"It is also a signal that further negotiations could be forthcoming as early as November when Prime Minister Stephen Harper may decide to prolong his visit to Beijing ... to meet with Chinese leaders."
Besides, the ratification itself has significant impact on trade and investment between the two countries.
Although Canada's official announcement also stressed that the investment agreement is not a free trade agreement, its ratification was considered as Canada's important and meaningful stance to enhance closer economic cooperation with the world's second-largest economy.
Lombardi predicted that, from a long-term view, a free trade agreement with China would be consistent with the government's ambitions of expanding Canada's international business and diversifying trade so that Canada would become less reliant on the United States.