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Remarks by Consul General He Wei at the 6th China-Ontario Research and Innovation Collaboration Forum

Honorable Minister Reza Moridi,

Director General Mr. Wu Yuanbin,

Deputy Director Mr. Zhu Qigao,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning! I am very happy to welcome you to join the China-Ontario Research and Innovation Collaboration Forum which, after 6 years of development, has evolved as a mature and outstanding platform for innovation collaboration between China and Ontario. First of all I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Ontario government and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology for the great support, as well as to the volunteers and guests for your efforts and contribution.

Though I’ve just been in Toronto for less than 2 months, I am impressed by the development of China-Canada relations and the friendship between the two peoples. Here I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my observations.

Firstly, China-Canada cooperation has been placed on a sound footing. Chinese people always remember Dr. Bethune, the 2000 courageous Canadian soldiers in the Battle of Hong Kong, and the fact that Canada was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with China.

In recent years, China-Canada relations have enjoyed a growing momentum of development, and China has become Canada’s largest source of international students, second largest trading partner, third largest tourism market and sixth largest source of foreign direct investment. In the field of technology, to support cooperation in such areas as clean technology and life science, the two sides have signed the Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Agreement, under which the China-Canada Joint Committee meets once every two years.

Over the years, the cooperation between China and Ontario in particular has yielded fruitful outcomes, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Research and Innovation Cooperation, the annual Research and Innovation Collaboration Forum, the establishment of the Research and Innovation Fund and the launch of the Young Scientist Exchange Program. These are all the examples that show the solid foundation for our cooperation.

Secondly, it’s the shared concept of our two countries to pursue innovation and green development. With abundant natural resources and advanced scientific capacities, Canada’s innovative concept of development has always been a good example for China to follow. In recent years, China attached great importance to the central role innovation plays in driving economic growth, continued to increase input in S&T, formulated measures to strengthen intellectual property rights protection, pushed forward the commercialization of research findings, and tried very hard to improve infrastructure and protect the environment.

These efforts have borne some fruit. China's investment in research and development (R&D) reached around 223 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, accounting for 2.1% of GDP. China's high-speed railways exceeded 20 thousand km in length. The 500 meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) was finished building and operated. The world’s first quantum communication satellite was launched. The High-Resolution Atlas of the Mouse Brain was obtained. Chinese supercomputer Sunway Taihulight remains the fastest in the world.

Currently China and Canada have already collaborated in many global explorations and actions. Both countries are involved in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, and have contributed to the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change. We believe there are more opportunities in the future for both sides to work hand in hand to promote a green and innovative world.

Thirdly, China’s development will provide more opportunities for the two countries to broaden their pragmatic cooperation. On one hand, as the second biggest economy in the world, China is a huge market for Canada’s export. In the past few years, China has already increased imports of lobsters, canola and paper pulp. If the two countries do reach a Free Trade Agreement, it will be much easier to double our trade volume by 2025 from the $55.7 billion in 2015.

On the other hand, with a similar size yet a population 40 times that of Canada, China is still a developing country that is trying very hard to handle the relationship between economic growth and environmental protection. As China has determined to pursue a sustainable development through scientific innovation, there are a lot of potentials for the two countries to tap, especially in these areas where Canada enjoys advantages, soil and water treatment for example.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the bilateral relations usher in a new Golden Era, it is my hope that both sides can roll up our sleeves and go full speed ahead with our work. With the continued support and efforts of all the friends present today, I believe the innovation collaboration between the two sides will be pushed to a new high.

Finally, I wish the forum a complete success. Thank you !

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