Canada and China are currently at diplomatic odds
By Diego Flammini
Canadian farmers shouldn’t see any trade disruptions despite ongoing diplomatic tensions, federal ag minister Lawrence MacAulay says.
China has been unhappy with Canada since Dec. 1 when authorities in Vancouver arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief operating officer of Huawei Technologies.
In retaliation, China detained three Canadians. China is holding diplomat Michael Korvig and businessman Michael Spavor on suspicion of endangering the country’s national security and another on a visa issue.
Despite China’s actions, Canadian ag goods should still enter China freely – mainly because China needs what Canada produces, MacAulay said.
“Yes, we have some issues, without a doubt,” he told iPolitics. “But is trade expanding? Yes, it is. Will it keep expanding? Yes, it will. With China, you have to continually be there. You have to work with the officials.”
Ag trade between Canada and China is valued at about $8.4 billion annually and could double by 2025.
During a trade mission in November, Canadian and Chinese officials signed 18 agriculture and agri-food agreements worth more than $350 million.
China is a key market to help Canada increase ag exports to $75 billion annually by 2025, MacAulay said.
“Of course, you’re concerned about things, but … things happen beyond my control, and … there will always be some problems,” he told iPolitics. But “the fact is, (China) is the buyer, and (Canada is) the producer.”