Canada, China meetings fail to yield free trade talks

Dec. 5, 2017 - by MEAT+POULTRY Staff

BEIJING – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced, “new joint partnerships” with China, falling short of a much-anticipated commitment to formal trade negotiations between the two countries.

“While in Beijing, Premier Li and I had discussions on a range of issues, from growing trade and investment, to combating climate change, to the importance of free expression,” Trudeau said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing discussions towards a comprehensive trade agreement, which will open up greater opportunities for people on both sides of the Pacific.”

The purpose of Trudeau’s trip was to promote a progressive trade agenda and tourism initiatives in addition to strengthening China’s and Canada’s cooperation on efforts to combat climate change. But meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, yielded no movement on an agreement for formal trade negotiations.

“With China, as with all of our trading partners, we are committed to pursuing trade that benefits everyone, that puts people first and reflects Canadian values, especially when it comes to the environment, labor and gender,” the statement said.

The two leaders issued a joint statement on climate change and clean growth. They also agreed to increase collaboration on agriculture and tourism by expanding market access to Canadian producers. For example, Canada and China committed to fully implementing a 2016 agreement to expand market access for Canadian frozen bone-in beef, and Chinese filled grain products. The two countries also agreed to start a pilot project for exports of Canadian chilled beef and pork.

Other issues discussed between the two countries include natural resources and energy, law enforcement cooperation, stronger cooperation on defense and security, and increased collaboration on regional and international security, among other issues.

China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner with merchandise exports to China reaching nearly $21 billion in 2016. Top Canadian exports to China are forest and agricultural products, copper and iron ores and motor vehicles.