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Canada’s foreign affairs minister, John Baird has announced the successful conclusion of an expanded air transport agreement with China. The amendments to the agreement will give airlines the flexibility to offer more travel options and help Canadian airports attract new flight links, which will help to create economic opportunities in Canada and China. Baird said: “Our government is focused on jobs, growth and concrete ways to increase trade and tourism. This agreement is good news for travellers, shippers and CanadaÆs aviation industry as a whole.” And the minister continued: “Increasing ties with the Asia-Pacific region is absolutely vital to Canada’s future prosperity. Our government gets that in a way no previous government has. This is just the latest example of that.” Bilateral trade with China reached record levels in 2012, and China is now Canada’s second-largest export destination after the United States. Air Canada was quick to welcome the amended bilateral air services agreement between Canada and The People’s Republic of China. Ben Smith, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer at Air Canada, said: “Air Canada applauds these changes to the bilateral and we thank the Canadian and Chinese governments for their hard work to expand the agreement. Air Canada fully supports the liberalization of air services between Canada and China, which is Canada’s second largest trading partner and a key market for our airline.” And Smith pointed out that: “This summer Air Canada has already added a total of seven weekly return flights to Beijing from Toronto and Vancouver, raising the number of Air Canada return flights to Beijing and Shanghai to 35 per week. The enhanced bilateral further expands opportunities for Air Canada to extend its coverage of cities in China in cooperation with our Star Alliance partners Air China and Shenzhen Airlines. These changes will also support our international expansion, which we intend to accelerate as five new Boeing 777-300 aircraft start entering service in our fleet this month and the first of 37 Dreamliners begin arriving in early 2014.”

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