Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in China this weekend, signing 20 new currency and energy agreements.
Canada now becomes the first country in the Americas with a reciprocal currency deal, allowing direct business between the Canadian dollar and the Chinese currency and cutting out the need for the U.S. dollar.
Canadian exporters had been forced to use the U.S. dollar, leading to higher currency exchange and longer waiting time to get deals done.
Harper told a business luncheon it’s critical the two countries work together.
“Taken together, these 20 deals signed today are valued at nearly $1.1 billion,” he said, noting one in particular that involved an Alberta-based company.
“Airborne Clean Energy of Alberta and Interchina Water will partner on control systems to address air pollution, the deal is initially valued at $28 million and involved marketing Airborne’s patented air pollution control technology,” Harper said.
ATB Senior Economist Todd Hirsch tells 660News the energy deal is actually more important than the currency one, since Alberta’s energy sector is so massive.
“Anything we can do to be promoting and expanding that energy sector is good, but especially when we are not only talking about other countries than the United States, very important to get into that Asian basin,” adding it could lead to streamlining pipeline projects, but ironically also being greener.
“The idea that it’s not just bitumen, it’s a wider array of energy products including technologies around clean energy, so I think overall that’s pretty important for Alberta,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch added the elimination of the U.S. dollar is not as critical as some may think, but anything that simplify trade is a positive and it could lead to bigger developments down the road.