Charles Burton, an associate professor of Political Science at Brock, wrote a piece recently published in the Globe and Mail about Justin Trudeau’s visit to China and impending trade talks.
Last Sunday afternoon, while Canadians settled in for the Grey Cup game, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Justin Trudeau will fly to Beijing this weekend for talks about “a progressive trade agenda” as well as “frank dialogue on human rights issues like good governance, freedom of speech and the rule of law.” Frank dialogue on human rights? The federal Liberals are dreaming if they think skeptical Canadians will buy the official line on Mr. Trudeau’s sudden visit to China.
Beijing has made clear it will not abide aspirations of a “progressive trade agenda.” Inserting clauses on human rights, the environment or regulatory transparency into free-trade talks is a non-starter. This regime demands that Canadian companies operating in China transfer technology and intellectual-property rights to their Chinese state partners. A free-trade agreement (FTA) won’t change that. No such “progressive” conditions appear in FTAs with New Zealand or Australia. Why would Beijing give a minor global player such as Canada special consideration?
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