2019 trade outlook for Canada
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer said he wouldn’t pursue a trade deal with China if he’s elected prime minister amid fallout from the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. CFO Meng Wanzhou.
“I think the events over the last little bit have demonstrated why we need to have a prudent approach to China,” Scheer told Evan Solomon in an interview on CTV’s Question Period over the weekend.
“Where we can agree on aspects, we should, absolutely – partner or accept their investments,” Scheer added. “But we don’t have the same types of systems, we don’t see the transparency and accountability in the Chinese economy. We know there’s a lot of state-owned enterprises.”
“We’re a long way from talking about a free trade deal.”
The current federal government has made efforts to strengthen its economic relationship with China over the last couple of years, with an eye toward eventually securing a free trade deal with the country. Canadian officials pushed for smaller sector-by-sector agreements when they visited China in November in Ottawa's most recent attempt to bolster the relationship, but left with no substantial progress.
In another setback for Canada’s efforts to strengthen its ties with China, three Canadian nationals are being held in China following the arrest of Meng earlier this month in Vancouver. Scheer said it would be “appropriate” for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call China President Xi Jinping to discuss the status of the detained Canadians.
Scheer also said he would “absolutely” block Huawei from Canada’s 5G wireless infrastructure. Canadian officials have been weighing whether the telecom company should be allowed to participate; while the U.S., Australia and New Zealand have already banned the company from their 5G networks.
“Our allies have come to the same conclusion,” Scheer said.
“We can’t have this naive approach with the regime in China.”