Federal government commits to public consultation on potential trade deal with China

International Trade Minister Chrystia FreelandOTTAWA — Canada is committing to public consultations on a potential free trade deal with China, and government officials from both countries are set to hold a first meeting early in 2017.According to Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office, consultations — including online submissions from the public — will be “integral” to assessing whether “sufficient economic interest” exists to pursue a negotiation with China.“We will take a step-by-step approach, and we look forward to hearing directly from Canadians on this issue,” said Freeland’s press secretary Alex Lawrence. He said in an email the government will welcome views “in any form,” including in writing, online and in person.A response to an order paper question tabled in parliament Monday confirms the government expects a “first face-to-face meeting” in “early 2017.” Lawrence didn’t confirm a date but said officials would meet “as the need arises.”Canada and China announced …
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