BEIJING, CHINA ­— Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, began his 10-day mission to China on Nov. 4, with more than 100 Canadian industry representatives.

Building on Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit in September, the mission showcases Canada’s agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood. The mission also highlights the importance of bilateral trade between Canada and China, and will create new opportunities to help grow Canada’s economy and middle class.

China is Canada’s second largest trading partner, after the U.S. Over the past three years, bilateral agriculture and food trade has increased by 13% to reach C$7.7 billion dollars. With a population of more than 1.4 billion people, China is one the fastest-growing economies in the world.

While in Qingdao and Beijing, MacAulay met with Chinese officials to discuss important issues of mutual interest, including market development opportunities, and hosted networking and business-to-business opportunities to promote Canadian agricultural, agri-food and seafood products.

“This trade mission is a great example of the government of Canada’s commitment to working with our global partners to expand market opportunities in China and around the world,” MacAulay said. “We are not only creating tremendous trade opportunities for Canadian companies and exporters of agricultural products, we are creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and growing the Canadian economy.”

MacAulay will continue his mission in Shanghai and other members of the delegation also will attend important business meetings and events in Guangzhou.

The mission is a continuation to continue collaborating after the signing of a trade agreement in September, which supported the export of canola to China from Canada. Canola is Canada’s second-largest export and top agricultural export to China. In 2015, Canadian exports of canola for oilseed crushing were valued at C$2 billion.

In 2009, China identified a concern over the presence of blackleg in shipments of Canadian canola. Blackleg has the potential to affect crop yields and is present in most canola- and rapeseed-growing countries.

Recognizing the importance of this issue to China, Canada and China have worked collaboratively since 2009 to find ways to mitigate the risk of transmitting blackleg through shipments of Canadian canola. Canada and China will continue to collaborate with the goal of improving risk-mitigation measures while also establishing a stable and predictable commercial environment that will benefit industry participants in both countries.

The two countries renewed the four-year Action Plan on Agriculture Cooperation between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and China’s Ministry of Agriculture (2016-20).