Canada May Be Pushed Into A ‘Free Trade’ Deal With China Because Of The United States And NAFTA Uncertainty

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who is scheduled to make an official visit to China runs the risk of facing a cold welcome in the wake of his government deciding to sideline Chinese interests in the Bomb raider case. Additionally, it is just a few days to the trip and Trudeau has not yet been able t o decide on the question of launching of negotiations for a free trade agreement with China which has been pushed for quite some time by Beijing.

Trudeau appears to deliberately moving slow om the free trade deal talks with China because of some obvious domestic revolt against it even as China has shown interest to strike a deal with Canada on the lines of what it has with Australia and New Zealand.

“No decisions have been taken at this end as a government,” a Canadian source who was reportedly familiar with the matter was quoted in the media in while talking about the possibility of talks being announced during Trudeau’s Dec 3-7 visit.

There were no comments made by Trudeau’s office to the media.

Trudeau is facing a catch twenty-two situation. There is a strong feeling about the need for Canada to diversify its exports so that it would be able to offset any potential harm caused when and if the United States finally decides to pull out of the NAFTA agreement and at eth same time there is also a strong division within the Canadian public on the issue of evaluating the merits and demerits of a trade deal with China as has been shown repeatedly by polls. Sources also added that it could be a decade before any form of trade deal with China could be struck.

There are also some obvious signs of impatience from the Chinese side which has put the prime minister under pressure. A source who is reportedly briefed on the Chinese position was quopted by the media saying that Beijing laments what it views as Canada’s “vague thinking” related to a deal.

Ottawa was setting “a high bar in terms of what trade means for Canadians,” even while it acknowledged the importance of diversification, said another Canadian source and added that the Canadian government was aware of Chinese impatience.

“While they may be impatient to move forward, I think they understand that,” the source reportedly a section of the media.

There is a lack of protection for intellectual property rights, arbitrary decisions by local courts and difficult working conditions, complain foreign executives operating in China.

Canadian plane maker Bombardier is hoping to secure a large order from Chinese carriers for its CSeries jet where China is the place where the plane’s fuselage is made. This visit of the Prime Minister comes amid such an environment.

But recently, Bombardier was encouraged by the Canadian government to choose airbus instead of a Chinese firm for selling of a controlling stake in the CSeries program, which has made the possibility of the Canadian firm getting the deal more cloudy.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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