Canadian and Chinese officials have agreed to launch “exploratory discussions” over a possible free trade agreement that could expand market access for Canadian beef. 

During the new annual dialogue between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the two men took “strong steps” to “expand the bilateral economic and financial relationship”, the Canadian government said.  

As well as steps to open up the Chinese market to Canadian beef-in-bone, Canada and China signed a memorandum of understanding on trade in canola and set a goal of doubling bilateral trade by 2025.

“During his official visit, Premier Li and I again made solid progress towards a more stable and beneficial relationship between Canada and China. These efforts will promote further understanding between our countries and generate exciting new opportunities for Canadian businesses to help grow our middle class,” Trudeau said. 

The Canadian government said that one of its top priorities in negotiations with China is to “enhance trade in agriculture”.