Madam Speaker, through you, I want to thank the hon. member for his questions, particularly regarding the extradition discussions with China.
Let me be perfectly clear. Canada is not considering an extradition agreement with China. Canadian and Chinese officials have routinely discussed legal co-operation issues, including as part of the Canada-China national security and rule of law dialogue. During previous dialogues, Canadian and Chinese officials have held discussions on many issues of mutual interest in the areas of legal co-operation and rule of law matters. This has included counterterrorism, cybersecurity, combatting transnational organized crime, and international and regional security challenges. In the course of this dialogue, China expressed its interest in exploring an extradition agreement with Canada. That is not unusual.
Canada is a popular destination for travel and immigration. As such, we are regularly approached by foreign countries interested in joining the ranks of the 80 countries with which we have bilateral extradition agreements. If a treaty with a particular country is assessed to be in Canada's interest, this can lead to a formal negotiation process and eventually a new extradition treaty could be undertaken. Other times, when Canada does not feel a treaty with a given country is necessary, is possible or is in Canada's best interest, extradition treaty proposals do not move past an exploratory phase and are not acted upon.
In accordance with our values and laws, Canada expects its extradition partners to uphold the highest standards of due process and fair treatment in their judicial and correctional systems. These are the key elements in the extradition treaty agreement.
In the case of China's expression of interest, while early discussions did take place, no decision was ever made to engage further, to the point of formal negotiations.
Nevertheless, China continues to be an important partner for Canada. China is Canada's third largest merchandise trading partner and an important market for Canadian businesses. China is an important source of foreign students and tourists, who make important contributions to the Canadian economy.
Canada and China have many differences. That is perfectly clear. However, where there are differences, we will continue to have appropriate engagement. Canada places great importance on our relations with China. We will engage continually with the Government of China in a way that is in Canada's best interest, all the while defending Canadian values and advancing our interests.
With respect to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, I would simply say that our government is a pro-business government that looks for opportunities for Canadian businesses to engage in projects around the world in every way we can. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is one such opportunity. We will continue to support Canadian businesses so they can grow, expand and create prosperity in this country.