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Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes a break during a plenary session at the G20 meetings in Los Cabos, Mexico on Monday. Canada is set to announce the next steps towards a potential trade deal with China at the meetings on Tuesday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Canada is set to announce it has completed an important step toward closer trade ties with China, CBC News has learned.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to make the announcement later today at the G20 leaders summit in Mexico.

Senior sources say Harper will detail some of the next moves toward closer trade integration with China, the dynamo of the emerging economies that include Brazil, Russia and India.

Today's announcement follows the successful completion of a joint study announced by both countries during Harper’s trip to China last February.

The study was focused on finding ways to enhance trade and economic activity between the two countries, and was deemed a success.

While the European crisis has stolen the spotlight at this G20 summit, Canadian officials have been working behind the scenes to secure developments on the trade front.

Canada is also seeking entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a U.S.-led trade initiative involving several other Pacific economies but not China.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast is also at the summit and will attend today's announcement.

It's not expected the announcement will mean full-on free trade talks – at least, not yet.

Experts have warned the complications posed by the Chinese economy mean it may be more productive to find other measures of improving market access, and protecting investors, at least in the short term.

More exploratory talks and more joint study with China are probably also in the offing, said a senior source.

The announcement will be presented as a coup for the Canadian prime minister, who has told troubled EU countries that they need to take a page from Canada and adopt aggressive pro-growth and pro-trade strategies.

The Canadian government views the announcement as a step to a more diversified Canadian economy.