China trade top priority for Tories

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in this April 15, 2013 file photo. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 9:04 PM ET

OTTAWA — In a speech in celebration of the lunar new year Saturday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised the Chinese-Canadian community's work ethic and said they gave Canada a great competitive advantage in developing more trade with Asia.

Harper was joined by Employment Minister Jason Kenney and multiculturalism secretary Chungsen Leung at a gala put on by the Confederation of Greater Toronto Chinese Business Association.

Harper focused on the economy and the Chinese-Canadian community's importance to it. Asia is the government's trade priority in 2014, he said.

"We will continue to diversify our markets," he said. "Your continued success, both here and abroad, will be vital to Canada's future prosperity."

Canada has aggressively pursued trade deals with Asia, particularly through ongoing negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Trade Minister Ed Fast has called China Canada's first priority when it comes to bilateral trade.

"In developing trade with Asian markets, you, Canada's Chinese community, are one of Canada's greatest competitive advantages," Harper told the crowd.

 


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