Canada courts China as energy partner

March 20, 2014 at 9:09 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 20 (UPI) -- Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver told members of a Chinese trade group his country has the reserves available to meet growing energy demands.

Oliver told members of the Canada-China Chamber of Industry and Commerce Association diversification of Canada's export economy was a win-win situation for both sides.

"Canada has the resources China needs," he said in a keynote address Wednesday. "We are an energy partner that China can depend on for the long term."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week signed a free-trade agreement with South Korea. That deal is part of his administration's effort to diversify an export economy that relies almost exclusively on the United States as its destination for oil and natural gas.

Oliver said China is Canada's second-largest trading partner and Canadian exports to China have more than quadrupled since 2003.

Last year, China National Offshore Oil Corp. acquired Canadian rival Nexen for $15.1 billion.

Oliver served previously as the natural resources minister in the Harper administration. He was sworn in Wednesday as finance minister after eight-year veteran Jim Flaherty resigned.

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