April 19 (UPI) -- Clean energy and technologies related to the fight against climate change are some of the ways to foster trade with Canada, the Chinese premier said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by phone late Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang. A readout of the meeting from the official Xinhua News Agency stated that both sides discussed bilateral opportunities in energy.
The two leaders expressed willingness to expand bilateral trade and investments, the official newspaper reported.
"The two countries should also strengthen cooperation on tackling climate change and cooperate in new areas such as clean energy to create new growth points in the relationship," Li said.
Many of the export metrics trended lower for Canada in 2015 and unemployment that year rose to 7.1 percent. For the energy sector, Canada is largely landlocked and relies almost entirely on the United States as its export destination for oil.
The bilateral phone call comes as trade officials from oil-rich Alberta tour Asia to explore investment opportunities and one month after the Canadian government issued a public call to weigh in on the possibilities of reaching a free-trade agreement with China.
Canada's trade with China would translate to economic expansion and job growth at home, the government said.
For the visit from Alberta leaders, officials in the provincial government said common themes during the visit to China would include oil and gas exports, while talks in Tokyo would highlight issues for energy in general as Japan reconfigures that sector in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Alberta has moved to diversify its economy through renewable energy programs. With U.S. energy policies migrating toward fossil fuels, environmental groups like Greenpeace said it will be China that will take the lead on the development of renewable energy.