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Canada  

Trade talks delayed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau concluded talks with the Chinese premier in Beijing, but they were not able to announce the start of formal free trade talks.

Trudeau said there wasn't one particular issue that held up the talks, but he wants a progressive trade deal that includes addressing issues such as gender, the environment and labour.

"China is very aware that this is a precedent as they move forward with the first trade deal with a G7 country and there is a desire that we get it right," Trudeau said.

"There is a coming together on the sense that this is going to be a big thing, not a small thing," Trudeau added.

Premier Li Keqiang lauded the "golden age" of relations with Canada and said China was amenable to continuing exploratory trade talks.

But tempers flared on the Chinese side during Trudeau's Monday visit to Beijing's opulent Great Hall of the People.

Chinese security guards blocked photographers from The Canadian Press and the Prime Minister's Office by throwing up their hands and moving their bodies between them and Trudeau as he walked a red carpet next to Li.

A Chinese foreign ministry official berated a diplomat from the Canadian embassy for not bringing the passports of the reporters travelling with Trudeau. The diplomat fired back at him in what was clearly an angry exchange.

Afterwards, the Chinese side cancelled a planned press conference, Trudeau's office said.

Trudeau said they had "frank and direct" conversations and that he looked forward to deepening economic relations with China.

"The opportunities for deepening our economic and people-to-people ties are tremendous," Trudeau told Li, who was seated across a large boardroom table in a cavernous and ornate meeting room. Both leaders were each flanked by eight officials.

"We had (a) candid and in-depth exchange of views just now and reached important common understanding," said Li, without elaborating.

The Trudeau government said it is still deciding whether to formally begin trade negotiations with China and has been pushing for a framework to broaden the talks to include the environment, governance, labour and gender issues.



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