[MONTREAL] Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called Friday for strong relations with Canada as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the important trading partner.
"We have no excuses," Mr Li told a Canadian-Chinese business council in Montreal. "China and Canada must have win-win cooperation."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mr Li announced Thursday an agreement to begin talks aimed at reaching a free-trade agreement. They set a target of doubling trade by 2025.
China is Canada's second-largest trading partner after the United States, with trade last year exceeding C$85 billion (S$88 billion).
Mr Li highlighted the reboot in bilateral relations after a decade of cooling under the previous Canadian administration, calling for "a new golden decade" between the two countries.
Mr Li's visit to Canada came a month after Mr Trudeau made a trip to Beijing looking to "renew and deepen" Sino-Canadian relations.
"These back-to-back visits in less than a month shows that China-Canada relations are moving to a new stage," Mr Li told reporters on Thursday.
Mr Trudeau echoed that optimism Friday.
"This last month of strong collaborative engagement represents a new era in the China-Canada relationship," the Canadian premier said.
"I'm excited to develop and maintain a real partnership that will benefit all our peoples for generations to come." Mr Li, who arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday, is due to leave Montreal on Saturday for Cuba.
It will be the first visit by a Chinese premier since the two countries established diplomatic relations 56 years ago.