BEIJING — Canada got a tough Chinese-style lesson in power politics Monday.
Justin Trudeau arrived in China “beg” for any kind of deal, in the belief that his hosts had accepted the fundamentals of his “progressive trade agenda.” He fully expected to announce the launch of formal free trade talks Monday, with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People overlooking Tiananmen Square.
He left empty-handed — which is going to make this a very long week for the Prime Minister, as he’s asked to elaborate on what went wrong.
” By Terry GLavin:
…After all these years, Canada’s annual exports to China amount to a mere $20 billion — only slightly more than we export to Britain — compared to the nearly $300 billion worth of trade we send to the United States, our first-place trading partner. Canada’s annual imports from the United States hover around the $280 billion mark, compared to the $66 billion in sweatshop production we import from China, as reliably calculated by the otherwise absurdly pro-Beijing Asia Pacific Foundation.
Even Trudeau’s characterization of China as Canada’s “second largest” trading partner is merely a reiteration of a kind of popular fiction. For one thing, to put China in second place you’d have to wholly ignore Europe. Even though Canada’s free trade deal with the European Union hasn’t fully kicked in, the annual Canada-EU trade has already surpassed the $100 billion mark — far higher than the volume of Canada-China traffic — and it’s trade that’s governed by environmental and labour standards that are entirely absent in China’s wage-slave ecological nightmare zones….
In any case, as a “trade partner,” Beijing, with its many friendly corporate dependencies in Canada, has behaved from the outset more like an embezzler. Canada’s current trade deficit with China, already in the range of $45 billion and growing, is up from less than $200 million in the days before the notoriously obsequious Beijing sycophant Jean Chrétien occupied the Prime Minister’s Office and kicked the whole racket into high gear at the start.
To be so dense as to believe the propaganda churned out by Chrétien acolyte François-Philippe Champagne, the rookie Quebec MP who has now somehow ended up as International Trade Minister, you would have to entirely ignore the damage Beijing’s penetration of the Canadian economy has already done.
In a recent analysis prepared for Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa’s Centre for the Study of Living Standards calculates that at least 150,000 Canadian jobs were lost to Chinese imports during the first decade of this century, and at least 100,000 of those jobs were in manufacturing. But China is fabulously rich, right?
Well, no. If China’s wealth were spread evenly throughout its population of 1.3 billion, by the calculations of the International Monetary Fund the Chinese people would still be poorer than the people of Equatorial Guinea and only slightly wealthier than the people of Botswana. But the Chinese government has lifted more than 300 million people out of abject poverty in recent years, hasn’t it? Doesn’t the regime deserve credit for that? \\
But nothing Trudeau or his ministers or their friends in the Canada-China trade lobby have ever said or done suggests that they have the slightest inkling of the implications of cultivating such intimacies with Beijing as Trudeau says he desires. Even worse, you can look back over the past 30 years, and all of the shiny forecasts about trade with China, every premise of every policy, all of it, has been wrong. The Chrétien-Trudeau Liberal grandees have not been right once in 30 years. Not once.
You want to believe them now?
“A strong relationship with China is essential to creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and growing the Canadian economy,” Trudeau says.
Here is a modest proposition then: No. It is not.