Canada's insurer Manulife Financial has signed a new framework cooperation agreement with Bank of China to strengthen their business relationship.

According to Manulife Financial, the agreement will strengthen cooperation in areas such as insurance custody and bancassurance in China, and other business arrangements in North America, for a minimum of two years.

Manulife Financial president and CEO Donald Guloien said China is an important market for Manulife, and the bancassurance partnership between Manulife’s joint venture life insurance company, Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance (MSL) and Bank of China will be an important source for future growth.

"In May 2011, MSL signed a bancassurance distribution agreement with Bank of China, to distribute insurance products at bank branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

"Additionally, Bank of China is also a major custodian and distributor of Manulife Financial’s joint venture fund management company, Manulife-TEDA Fund Management," Guloien said.