Sunday, January 6, 2008
Man on a Mission
I was in good company today when I flew back to Beijing.
Canadian Minister of International Trade, the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics David Emerson took the same flight.
He checked in himself, carrying a Vancouver Canucks bag along with a suitcase.
In front of the cameras he shook hands with Chinese diplomats who escorted him to the security gate. Then later I saw him on his cell phone, having changed into a blue sweater and jeans. Most people completely ignored him, which probably suited him just fine.
This week Emerson will travel to China, Mongolia and Hong Kong to pursue trade and investment opportunities.
And during the week he is probably hoping to establish better relations between Canada and China since Stephen Harper took office as Prime Minister.
Harper undid the aggressive stance the Liberals took in creating stronger ties with China, instead giving the country pretty much the cold shoulder. And then things got worse when Harper met with the Dalai Lama in October.
And as one of the last developed nations yet to get ADS from China, Canada is majorly losing face in this big opportunity to cash in on Chinese tourists.
While Emerson has a tough road ahead of him, he's the right man for the job. With his previous experience as a Liberal, perhaps he'll be able to smooth things over between the Chinese and Canada.
With two-way trade between the two countries reaching $42 billion in 2006, up 15 per cent from the previous year, maybe more money will inspire more talks.