OTTAWA - Canada's banks are on display in China this week as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tries to woo officials there.
Flaherty told reporters from Beijing he hopes his visit will spur Chinese investment in Canada's resource and financial service sectors.
"What we're trying to do is show off the Canadian financial institutions so that they will be even more welcomed and accepted by the authorities in China," he said Monday.
The China trip - Flaherty's second as finance minister - is meant to court the country's coveted market as exports slow to the United States, Canada's largest trading partner.
A battered housing market, weak consumer spending and massive government deficits threaten to keep the American economy, the world's biggest, on the skids for a while longer.
That will weaken growth prospects in all of America's trading partners, particularly Canada.
"China has a need for resources. China has . . . substantial U.S. dollar cash reserves," Flaherty said. "China is looking for investments abroad, Commercial investments, subject to proper governance, are welcomed in Canada.
"I think, over time, we will see more investment by Chinese businesses in Canada. I think, over time, we'll also see growth by our financial institutions in this market, which is just a terrific prospective market for our banks and insurance companies based in Canada that operate globally."
Flaherty has met China's vice premier, finance minister and the chair of the country's National Development Reform Commission since arriving on the weekend.
Accompanying the finance minister on the trip are Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney and other key government officials and financial executives from Canada's major banks.
They include representatives from the Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS), the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), the Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY), TD Canada Trust (TSX:TD) and CIBC (TSX:CM), along with officials from Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC), Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF) and TMX Group (TSX:X).
It's the largest Canadian business delegation to China in years.