Canada is aggressively courting Chinese investment, and seems to be attracting some interest. China sent a senior delegation to Canada at the end of July to sign an agreement with Canada's 11 largest cities to make it easier for more trade and investment to flow between the two countries.

The key Chinese government agency for outbound investment, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), was hosted on the mission by Consider Canada City Alliance (CCCA) as well as Invest in Canada, the Canada China Chamber of Commerce (CCCC) and Calgary Economic Development.

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At an investment forum in Calgary, organised by the CCCA, Chinese leaders spoke about the key factors that will drive their investment in areas such as energy, food security, affordable healthcare and clean tech. At the same time, Canadian leaders spoke about how municipalities play a key role in investment and trade. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Canada and its large cities to tell the Chinese about the diverse Canadian opportunities and to hear about the factors that guide Chinese investment decisions,” said Bruce Graham, chair of the CCCA and president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development.

CCPIT signed a memorandum of understanding to support increased trade and investment between China and Canada, with idea being to use the CCCA members to facilitate increased economic activity between the two countries.

“The fact is that the 11 members of the CCCA – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Waterloo Region and Saskatoon ­– accounted for 72% of GDP growth and 90% of the country’s job growth between 2007 and 2012,” said Mr Graham. “Our Chinese guests very much appreciate the fact that we can quickly identify the Canadian city or cities best suited to particular sectors and investment objectives, and among economic development representatives, instantly assign a point person to move detailed investment discussions forward.”

Wang Lijun, president of the CCCC, said: “China is becoming Canada’s most important source of FDI. As of the end of 2012, there are 183 Chinese companies that have invested in Canada a total amount of $43.8bn, and these investments create thousands of job opportunities for Canadians.”

fDi Markets, a crossborder greenfield investment tracker, shows Canada only ranked ninth, however, as a destination for Chinese investment from June 2012 to June 2103 in terms of numbers of greenfield projects, a long way behind the US.