Canada can raise human rights issues and still do business with China: Emerson

The Canadian Press
January 8, 2008 - 9:45 a.m.

BEIJING - International Trade Minister David Emerson says Canada is comfortable with criticizing China's human rights record while continuing to do business with the country.

Emerson wrapped up a visit to China today where he met this week with cabinet ministers responsible for technology, infrastructure and commerce.

He says he made progress in moving along trade initiatives in areas such as foreign investment and tourism.

Emerson says Canada isn't shy about making its concerns known about human rights, but adds he doesn't think that has to interfere with trade.

Emerson says he thinks Chinese officials "are as open" as they have ever been to talking about human rights issues, but he didn't indicate whether he raised any concerns.

A notable foray into human rights waters by the Conservative government came in 2007 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper met the Dalai Lama, drawing China's ire.

Emerson is to travel to Mongolia on Wednesday to meet with officials there.