China's President Hu Jintao (
Hu told some 800 business, political and Chinese-Canadian community leaders that the two were "important trading partners, however, given the size of our two economies, there is still potential for more bilateral trade and economic cooperation."
"Canada with its highly developed economy, diverse industrial sectors and rich natural resources and China with its rapid growth and huge market are highly complementary," Hu said.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Hu agreed on Friday to work together on nuclear energy, to triple passenger and cargo flights between their countries, to share railway technology and to collaborate on health research, food safety and plant and animal health.
Hu said the move would "upgrade the China-Canada relationship into a strategic partnership."
China-Canada trade has progressed from "small, simple items, commodities trade into all-dimensional trade and cooperation, covering trade and commodities and services, capital flows and personnel exchanges."
He said that while China offered Canada consumer goods, "Canada's capital, technologies and managerial expertise have added fresh vitality to China's growing economy."
Hu challenged businesses "to tap the potential in all fields" and double bilateral trade by 2010. Canadian officials also pledged to work towards the goal.
China is Canada's second-biggest trading partner behind the US.
Last year, Canadian exports to China grew by 40 percent while goods moving in the opposite direction increased 30 percent, often displacing other Asian imports.
Hu said China's high-tech industries, agriculture, services, environmental protection and infrastructure were now ripe for investment.
"Both China and Canada stand to gain in a long-term and stable partnership in the field of energy and resources," Hu said.
"We must still work hard for several decades before we can turn China into a moderately developed country," and to meet the goal of quadrupling China's year 2000 GDP to about US$4 trillion or US$3,000 per capita by 2020, Hu said.
He singled out the need for economic development, democratic reforms and improved education.