Canada to continue trade talks with China

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday here that his country is to continue trade talks with China, Xinhua reported.

Trudeau made the remarks at 2018 Fortune Global Forum, which kicked off on Monday.

The three-day forum has brought together the CEOs of the world’s biggest corporations-the Fortune Global 500-with innovators, builders, and other selected experts to explore the key issues shaping global business.

“Let’s talk about where we can work together, in areas that makes sense for both of us that will benefit Canadians. Certainly, discussions are continuing with China on moving forward on various trade opportunities,” Trudeau said in an interview with The Globe and Mail before attending the forum Monday afternoon.

He said the U.S. put forward a proposal during the negotiations that would have restricted Canada’s ability to negotiate trade agreements with China, but that section was watered down in the final agreement.

“They put forward a proposal in the USMCA originally that was very, very rigid on trade with China, he said. “We got them to a place where we agree to mutually discuss trade negotiations we might make with China, which is positive for us.”

Canada has secured continued access to the all-important U.S. market in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

In a phone call last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Canadian counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland that Beijing hopes Ottawa will “advance the establishment of a China-Canada free-trade zone” and “take practical actions to protect the global free-trade system with China.”

Trudeau said that one of the lessons of the long and contentious negotiations to salvage the North American free trade agreement is that Canada is too reliant on the U.S., the destination for nearly three-quarters of Canadian exports.

“I think we’ve all recognized that diversifying our trade is extremely important and we’re happy to continue to engage with the Chinese, there’s no question about that,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said the decision earlier this month by LNG Canada to press ahead with a long-planned liquefied natural project in the northern B.C. community of Kitimat is a “concrete illustration” of the message Ottawa has been sending resource companies for nearly three years.

“If you want to get a project done and be safe from court challenges and get that public support, you need to be really thoughtful about environmental impacts and about indigenous partnership, and that is something that LNG Canada has really done right,” added the Canadian prime minister.

The Kitimat project is the centrepiece of an investment of 40-billion Canadian dollars by LNG Canada’ s five co-owners – Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, PetroChina, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. and South Korea’s Kogas.