Canada cold shoulders China over interest to join Pacific Rim trading bloc

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Canada is giving China the cold shoulder to join the 11-nation Pacific Rim trading bloc, which is seen as an important gateway to diversify Canada’s trade with other Asian countries.

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A spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng says Canada is aware of China’s desire to join a comprehensive and progressive agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but has not yet discussed it with the People’s Republic.

Chris Zhou says China will be allowed to enter the CPTPP only if it meets the “high standard” required by member states.

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Canada’s language on China’s possible ascension to the treaty reflects the stance taken by Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after he was sworn into power on Monday.

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Trade analysts say Canada should vocally oppose China’s entry into the trade deal, which also includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

They say the safe return of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to Canada gives the federal government more freedom to vocally oppose China’s joining the deal.

Two Canadians were arrested in apparent retaliation for the December 2018 arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition warrant.

Meng returned to China last month, hours after the US withdrew his extradition request and a British Columbia court ended legal proceedings against him. This paved the way for the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor, who had flown back to Canada just in time for Meng’s departure.

“Canada has no reason to do China any favors. His appalling behavior toward Canada over the past two years, including war and belligerent criticisms about Canada, provides every justification for Canada’s response to China’s CPTPP application,” said Lawrence Herman. , an international trade lawyer and a former Canadian. diplomat

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Canada may be much smaller than China, but its membership in the larger CPTPP allows it to use its “leverage and influence” to counter “China’s aggression”, Hermann said.

Meredith Lilly, the Simon Reisman Chair in Trade Policy at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, said Canada does not need to support or reject China’s candidacy because of the firm rules around criteria for new members already in the trade deal. Huh.

“China currently does not meet the standards or ambition defined by the accession process to join the CPTPP, and a series of reforms are to be taken seriously in areas such as state-owned enterprises, domestic subsidies, labor and human rights. Will need to start buying more,” Lilly said.

“I believe it would be a mistake for members of the CPTPP to reduce the agreement to accommodate any new members.”

Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to China, said China has not lived up to the promises it made two decades ago when it joined the World Trade Organization.

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“To understand how difficult it is for foreign companies to operate in China compared to Chinese companies, we need to base our approach more on reciprocity,” Saint-Jacques said.

China submitted its application to join the CPTPP in mid-September and Taiwan followed suit a week later in line with its own application. The move has angered China, which opposes Taiwan’s participation in all international spheres as it views the island as a separate province.

China has intensified military threats to Taiwan in recent days, flying more than 50 fighter jets toward the island on Monday.

Saint-Jacques and Lille said Canada should support Taiwan as a member of the CPTPP.

“Of course, China will go berserk, but you know, China is not ready,” Saint-Jacques said.

“Once nominated, Canada’s next trade minister should publicly acknowledge Taiwan’s application, indicating that Canada will pay close attention to Taiwan’s application,” Lilly said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also reaffirmed Canada’s solidarity with two of its largest CPTPP partners in recent days.

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He spoke to his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on the phone on Monday. “The two leaders discussed closer cooperation between Canada and Australia in strengthening Granthshala trade and human rights as well as maintaining the rules-based international order,” a readout from Trudeau’s office released on Tuesday said.

And on Monday his office issued a statement congratulating Kishida.

“Our comprehensive trade and investment relationship, based on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, contributes greatly to our economic security,” Trudeau said.

“Together, we will advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and take ambitious action in the fight against climate change.”

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