OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney plan to compare notes with their Chinese counterparts on the global financial crisis when they arrive in China this weekend.

A senior Finance Department official says the one-week trip will focus on the world economy and how government stimulus spending has fared.

There's also to be talk of how Canada and China's banking, securities and insurance industries are regulated.

Flaherty will meet China's finance minister, Xie Xuren, and Lou Jiwei, chairman of China Investment Corp. Carney will meet Zhou Xiaochuan, chief of China's central bank.

Flaherty and Carney will be accompanied by Julie Dickson, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, as well as other key government officials and financial executives.

Relations between Ottawa and Beijing had been seriously strained when the Conservatives came to power in 2006, following a series of statements and policy moves that rankled the Chinese.

Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had been named an honorary Canadian citizen; Canada was actively protesting the imprisonment of Chinese-Canadian Huseyin Celil; and Prime Minister Stephen Harper used strong language in referring to his concern over human rights in China.

The relationship has since improved. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made a two-day visit to Ottawa in June and was warmly received by Harper and senior ministers.

Flaherty's trip follows recent, high-profile visits to China by Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

The visit also sets the stage for Harper's first trip to China later this year. The prime minister, who has not visited China during three years in office, was noticeably absent from last year's Olympic Games in Beijing.

But Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff will beat Harper to the punch when he visits China next month.

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