Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Denis Lebel, met with Feng Zhenglin, China’s Vice-Minister of Transport, at the International Transport Forum’s 2012 summit. The International Transport Forum’s annual summit, held in Leipzig, Germany, brings together over 800 participants from 53 countries, and aims to find solutions to global transport-related issues and to foster a deeper understanding of the integral role transportation plays in the world economy.

Discussions included Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI). China is a priority trade market for Canada and has been a key partner of the APGCI since its inception in 2006. By providing a system-wide focus on the transportation network that connects Asia with North America, the gateway initiative strengthens ties across all modes within Transport Canada and with a number of other ministries in China.

Gateway cooperation between Canada and China has resulted in mechanisms for the formal exchange of information, best practices, collaborative research, as well as other initiatives. Work is ongoing to deepen these relationships and increase trade and investment opportunities between China and Canada.

During the past two and a half years, Canadian and Chinese officials and experts have exchanged technical expertise in the areas of supply chain management, cold climate technologies, and safety and road infrastructure. In June 2012, Canada will host a Chinese delegation in Vancouver to explore potential future areas of joint research.

“This collaboration has provided a good opportunity for Canada to work closely with China,” said Minister Lebel. “The joint research program has opened dialogue among researchers in both countries and has created direct cooperation. We hope to continue building on the program’s successes.”

Additionally, Minister Lebel and Vice-Minister Feng took time to talk about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Port Services Network (APSN), an international organization that brings together senior representatives from Asia-Pacific economies, ports and port-related industries. At the request of China, Canada has taken a leading role in the APSN and has held the presidency since the organization was established.

Furthermore, Minister Lebel and Vice-Minister Feng discussed the development of an action plan that will allow Canada and China to learn from each other’s civil aviation programs and work cooperatively on aviation safety issues. This follows on Prime Minister Harper’s visit to China in February 2012, when he and Premier Wen Jiabao committed to strengthening collaboration on civil aviation.