Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty called for stronger ties with China on Friday as his country enters a period of austere fiscal prudence in an effort to balance its federal budget by 2015.
"Not only China, but all the emerging economies of Asia," Flaherty said following a Vancouver Board of Trade meeting.
"The emerging economies are where the growth is in the world economy. The European economies, for the most part, are in a recession. The American economy is struggling. Our economy is growing modestly, but the emerging economies continue to grow significantly."
In his 2013 budget speech Thursday, Flaherty said Canada's deficit in the fiscal year ending March 31 is projected at 25.9 billion Canadian dollars (25.3 billion U.S. dollars). He said the ruling Conservatives will curb spending and pay down public debt by 2015 so as to be "in good shape the next time we have some kind of financial crisis."
Canada emerged from the 2008 global economic downturn in the strongest fiscal position among G-7 nations, largely on the strength of demand for its natural resources, a stable banking sector and strong household and government spending among others.
Flaherty, who will be in Hong Kong Monday as part of a weeklong trip to Asia that will also include Thailand to boost trade and investment, said controlling spending and balancing budgets helped to keep taxes low.
"All of this adds to the fiscal and economic credibility of Canada, of the government of Canada, but also businesses in Canada around the world. The Canadian brand is very strong," he said.