CHINA and Canada are poised to strengthen economic ties, Canada's Foreign Minister Andre Ouellet told a Canadian Chamber of Commerce meeting in Hong Kong yesterday. Mr Ouellet said he had been encouraged by his recent meetings with officials in Beijing, citing ''highly productive'' discussions on what he described as the four equal pillars upon which Sino-Canadian relations were based. These included: economic partnership, sustainable development that protects the environment, regional and international peace and security (including human rights), and good governance and rule of law. ''In Beijing, I emphasised the great complementary [nature of] Chinese economic requirements and Canadian capabilities,'' Mr Ouellet said. ''I am hopeful we will witness enhanced economic co-operation in a variety of areas including energy, transportation, telecommunications, environmental protection, agricultural products, and oil and gas.'' He said Canada would be a creative force in the development of institutions such as the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC). Canada recognised the growing economic and political influence of the region, and was interested in developing stronger networks of political dialogue, investment, commerce and personal contacts. ''We have played an important transAtlantic role in the past and now we are ready to play a similar transPacific role,'' Mr Ouellet said. ''I invite you, the business community, to follow and support the development of APEC, [which] is a framework to release the full energies of the private sector in creating economic prosperity.'' The minister said APEC's success or failure would impact the business community directly, adding that a stable economic and political environment, good governance and the rule of law were vital regional goals. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien is expected to make an official visit to China in November, accompanied by up to 200 businessmen.