Canada – China Trade & Environment Agreements

Full texts of all the agreements signed by Canada and China during this week’s Prime Minister’s visit have not yet been released but some details are available on the PM’s website. Although announced as trade agreements, there are few trade agreements these days which are devoid of environmental implications, either positive or negative. This week’s agreements are no exception.

One of the key agencies involved in facilitating bilateral Canada-China projects is the little known International Science and Technology Partnerships Program, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade overseen by the Minister of International Trade. During the China visit the PM announced the following ISTPP project approvals in the environmental technology sector:

  • A Wind Energy Seawater Desalination System with Wenvor Technologies Inc. as the Canadian business partner.
  • A Condensing Technology for Recovery and Utilization of Waste Heat from Reheating Furnace Emissions in the Petrochemical Industry with Thermal Energy International Inc. as the Canadian business partner.
  • Nanowire-Based Next Generation Solar Cells with Cleanfield Energy as the Canadian business partner.
  • A Real-Time Multi-Sensor Tracking Device for operation on any platform and in any environment with Trusted Positioning Inc. as the Canadian business partner.
  • A Blue-Green Algae Blooms Warning System with Noetix Research as the Canadian business partner.
  • Research and Commercialization of the Next Generation Core Technologies for Online Spatial Data Maintenance with MRF Geosystems as the Canadian business partner.

In addition, the PM announced two new calls for proposals, to be launched in spring 2012, focusing on the development of innovations with high commercial potential in the areas of human vaccines and clean automotive transportation. Total funding for these two initiatives will be $18 million.

The PM also announced a Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Energy Cooperation. The MOU is said to set a foundation for strategic and technical cooperation, including joint research projects, exchange of expertise and facilitation of workshops, and promotion of cooperation between energy companies in both countries. The agreement also provides a vehicle for liaison with provinces and territories, industrial, academic, professional and other organizations.

Another five-year MOU on Sustainable Development of Natural Resources is reportedly expected to generate new and improved scientific knowledge and technologies, help address a number of environmental issues and enable trade and investment opportunities for both Canadian and Chinese industries. It will apparently promote cooperation between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the areas of clean energy, earth sciences and mineral resources. It provides a platform to promote Canadian expertise, technologies and services. The benefits of increased cooperation are stated to include: new technologies for Canadian resource firms; advancing Canada’s research priorities; addressing policy challenges to resource development, such as emissions, reduced environmental impact and natural hazards; and opportunities for Canadian suppliers of equipment and services.

Details of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which was also concluded during the PM’s visit, have not been released as yet. Following other recent international investment agreement negotiations, there may be environmental aspects to this agreement.

Further details of the outcomes of Prime Minister Harper’s trip to China are available at Some of the press releases used as sources for this article are presented as links from other press releases and are not presented as direct links from this site.

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