In this issue: Opportunities and challenges continue in trade with China, Greece welcomes Belt and Road, China blocks canola panel

Opportunities and challenges continue in trade with China

A recent Western Producer story on China’s potential to import more wheata Reuters report on China’s need for more pork for reserves, and a Global Trade Magazine story on how increased livestock feed demand is also increasing demand for dried peas all illustrate the same point in different ways: how difficult it is, particularly for those in agriculture, to pull away from China.  

Meanwhile, tensions between China and Canada’s Five Eyes ally, Australia have allowed Canada and the U.S. to “eat Australia’s lunch” when it comes to trade with China, according to a South China Morning post article. Trade data from the article shows Canada’s coal exports to China reached a record of 1.2 million tonnes in March. Reuters also examined how strained trade relations between China and Australia caused increased imports of U.S. beef. 

Experts such as former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz maintain that Canada should continue to see bigger trade partners such as China as vital, but also engage with a variety of others (a view shared by the Canada West Foundation’s Trade & Investment Centre). In a recent Financial Post Down to Business podcast, Canada West Foundation’s Trade Policy Economist Sharon Zhengyang Sun provided insight into how Canada can engage with China through agriculture. Listen to the podcast here. 

Canada Beef and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, according to the Western Producer, are looking to increase beef exports to Germany. The federal government is also in pursuit of a trade deal with Indonesia, which the Financial Post says signals a major shift in the government’s Asia strategy which has typically focused on India and China. 

Greece welcomes Belt and Road

Even as Canada and others look to diversify away from China, China continues to build relations with others through its Belt and Road Initiative. Most recently, NATO and EU member Greece welcomed China’s BRI. Spiros Lambridis, Greek ambassador and permanent representative to NATO, said of the move “we have joined the Belt and Road initiative in a very concrete project and in a very concrete term, not looking at that as a strategic relationship with another partner, but certainly we are not going to abandon it, just because others do.” Read more from Lambridis in the MSNBC report on Greek-China relations here. 

China blocks canola panel

One major challenge to the Canada-China trade relationship is China’s actions on canola. China most recently blocked Canada’s request to establish a WTO panel to look into China’s actions – see this previous brief for more. The move has “frustrated Canadian farmers” according to this CBC article and continues a dispute which has cost roughly “$2 billion through lost sales and lowered prices” over the past two years. 

Canadian Senate does not pass genocide motion

On June 29th Canadian Senators voted in a motion to label the treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims as genocide. The motion was not passed, with a 33-29 vote against. Independent Senator Yuen Pau Woo gave a speech prior to the vote which urged Senators to vote against the motion because of Canada’s own actions against Indigenous people. The House of Commons had previously voted in favour of the motion to recognize Chinese actions as genocide.  

In other news

  • To mark the 50th anniversary of China-Canada relations, The Canadian International Council is working on compiling an Assessment of 50 Years of relations.  
  • The Chinese government recently limited cryptocurrency mining in the country which led to the closure of all Bitcoin and Ethereum mining facilities. Despite the closures, organizations such as IBC Group, a private equity firm that focuses on blockchain technology, believe this crackdown represents a “huge opportunity for the cryptocurrency market,” particularly for Canada.  
  • Research done by Hamazaki Wong, RIWI, and Vivintel reveals that more than 60 million Chinese adults are considering immigration to Canada in the next two years. Many of these migrants are identified as well educated, affluent, and relatively fluent in English.    
  • As Canada celebrated 153 years as a country on July 1st China also celebrated the centenary of its Communist Party. The event was marked in Beijing with a performance of “The Great Journey.”  
  • As Carlo Dade, Director, Trade & Investment Centre predicted in the previous China Brief, Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team advanced to the semifinals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament as it beat China in a 109-79 rout. However, Canada failed to move past the semifinals after losing to the Czech Republic 101-103 in overtime. 
  • Calgarian Brian Wong is trying to make hockey more accessible to Cantonese and Mandarin speaking immigrants through his work with the Calgary Flames as well as a podcast. Wong says in a CBC interview “Learning about Canadian sport is part of the integration process of an immigrant’s journey. Ice hockey is the national sport. Its culture goes beyond the stadium and it opens the door to Canadian society.”

    – Stephany Laverty, policy analyst and Mehera Salah, intern policy analyst

    The China Brief is a compilation of stories and links related to China and its relationship with Canada’s West. The opinions expressed in the links are those of the articles’ authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Canada West Foundation and our affiliates.