Eager to promote Chinese investment, the Canada's federal government is preparing to forge a wide-ranging pact with Beijing that will lay the foundation for investments in the energy sector and other key areas of the Canadian economy, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported Friday.
Ottawa quietly began negotiating a foreign investor promotion and protection agreement with China during talks in Beijing this fall.
Such an agreement would take trade relations to a new level because it would safeguard the rights of investors in each of the countries, giving them the legal standing of domestic businesses.
It is part of a push by Prime Minister Paul Martin -- who visits China later this month -- to increase Canada's share of direct foreign investment.
"China has been identified as one of the key markets for Canada in terms of trade and investment over all," said Andrea Lanthier, press secretary to International Trade Minister Jim Peterson.
The agreement comes as talks between Chinese and Canadian energy firms gain momentum, with Husky Energy Inc. being eyed by one state oil company, and pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. aiming to ink a deal with a Chinese company.
The Enbridge deal would give the Chinese company a 49 percent ownership stake in a pipeline designed to carry crude from Alberta's oil sands to British Columbia -- and across the Pacific.