Old friend Chretien extends a warm welcome on his last day in office Premier Wen Jiabao wrapped up a visit to Canada with a plan to double bilateral trade by 2010. He told a lunch of Canadian and Chinese business leaders that annual trade between the two nations was now about US$8 billion. The target will not be hard to meet, as Canada is rich in many of the natural resources that China is importing to fuel its booming economy. 'It is estimated that in the next three years, China will import more than US$1 trillion worth of goods,' Mr Wen said. 'China wants to import more from Canada. In addition to such traditional products such as potash, paper and pulp, equipment and machinery, we hope to import more telecommunications equipment and other hi-tech products from Canada. 'At the same time, we hope the Canadian side will continue to import our textiles and other light-industrial products while increasing purchases of our machinery, household appliances and other products.' China is Canada's third-largest trading partner, and Canada is China's 10th-largest. Canadian companies such as telecoms giant Nortel and insurer Manulife already have a substantial presence in China, but Mr Wen said he would like to entice even more Canadian firms to invest in China. 'Before I came, I was looking at the Canadian government's proposal to upgrade our relations by forming a working group, and I thought, as I sat on the plane coming here, 'why not upgrade this working group to the vice-ministerial level'?' the premier said. Mr Wen's visit came on the last day in office for Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. 'I just want to say welcome to you, you're among friends here,' Mr Chretien said at a ceremony in Ottawa on Thursday to welcome the premier. Mr Chretien played a key role in developing Sino-Canadian relations. He was a minister in the government of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in 1978 when Canada and China formed official ties. Since becoming prime minister 10 years ago, he has hosted senior Chinese leaders 16 times, visited China six times and led two trade delegations, becoming the champion among western leaders with the most contacts with the mainland. 'We must be thankful to him,' Mr Wen said at the business council lunch just before he was to meet incoming prime minister Paul Martin in the afternoon. Premier Wen leaves for a far less friendly trip to Mexico today. As a developing nation straddling both North and Central America, Mexico has seen its manufacturing jobs draining away to China as multinationals relocate there. After visiting Mexico this weekend, Mr Wen will spend two days in Ethiopia before returning to Beijing on December 17.