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Canaccord, China's Eximbank Plan $1 Billion Resource Fund

Canaccord Financial and China's deep-pocketed Eximbank announced plans on Thursday to form a $1 billion fund to invest in Canadian resources, the newest push by the Asian giant to gain access to Canada's oil and minerals.

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Canaccord, a large independent brokerage with a commanding presence in Canadian junior and midcap mining companies, and the state Import Export Bank of China announced the plans while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is pushing to boost bilateral trade ties with China, is visiting Beijing.

"Canaccord's deep knowledge of the resource sector and Canada's strong natural resource industry will be highly complementary to the interests of investors and the continued demand for energy and other resources," Canaccord Chief Executive Paul Reynolds said after the fund was announced in China.

Chinese investment in Canadian assets is rising fast, nurtured by Ottawa's focus on exporting oil and other goods to China and other booming Asian economies. China imports no oil from Canada at present.

The impetus to diversify oil exports grew last month after U.S. President Barack Obama vetoed TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried crude from Alberta's oil sands to Texas refineries.

The Canada-China Natural Resource Fund will invest in public and private projects in Canada and promote interaction between Chinese and Canadian resource companies.

It plans to raise the $1 billion from investors in China and abroad with a first closing in the first half of 2012.

"The Canada-China Natural Resource Fund demonstrates the importance of Canadian financial markets in the development of resource companies and the continued expansion of Chinese participation in natural resource projects around the world," said Reynolds, who signed a memorandum of understanding with Zhu Xinqiang, vice president of Eximbank.