China deal could boost Canada GDP

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By NA LI in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A free trade agree­ment (FTA) be­tween Canada and China would in­crease Cana­dian ex­ports by some $7.7 bil­lion and Cana­dian GDP by about $7.8 bil­lion (0.14 per­cent) by 2030, ac­cord­ing to a re­port com­mis­sioned by Canada China Busi­ness Coun­cil.

This would help cre­ate an ad­di­tional 25,000 Cana­dian jobs across all skill lev­els and raise wage rates as the de­mand for Cana­dian labour in­creases, said the re­port, which was re­leased by Noah Frasr, di­rec­tor of CCBC On­tario Chap­ter, at the Canada-China Free Trade Agree­ment Fo­rum on April 8 in Toronto City Hall.

If Canada were to be­come the first country in the Amer­i­cas to se­cure a trade deal with China, it would not only ben­e­fit from di­rect trade op­por­tu­ni­ties, it would also be a mag­net for in­vestors from third coun­tries wish­ing to take ad­van­tage of Canada’s priv­i­leged ac­cess, ac­cord­ing to the study.

“It is the right time to start the process of FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween China and Canada,” said Xue Bing, Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­eral in Toronto, in his key­note speech.

Ac­cord­ing to Xue, China has been ini­ti­at­ing FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions with its trad­ing part­ners since 2003. So far, China has con­cluded 14 agree­ments with 22 coun­tries and tar­iff ter­ri­to­ries and is now in the midst of an­other eight FTA talks.

Xue noted that as a re­sult of low oil prices and plung­ing com­mod­ity prices, the global econ­omy was re­cov­er­ing very slowly. Thus ex­pand­ing for­eign trade and in­vest­ment

It is the right time to start the process of FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween China and Canada.”

was an ef­fec­tive ap­proach to boost­ing eco­nomic growth.

In terms of the FTA ben­e­fits, Xue cited Aus­tralia as an econ­omy sim­i­lar to Canada. As the China-Aus­tralia FTA went into ef­fect last De­cem­ber, it is ex­pected that the China- Aus­tralia FTA will bring Aus­tralia GDP up by at least 0.7 per­cent and save more than 300 mil­lion Aus­tralian dol­lars in im­port tar­iffs for Aus­tralian ex­porters of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

“Cana­dian ex­port would grad­u­ally be marginal­ized in the Chi­nese mar­ket,” Xue said.

To pro­mote the bi­lat­eral eco­nomic ties, he sug­gests that Canada and China con­tinue to sup­port the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem and op­pose trade pro­tec­tion­ism.

“And we should ini­ti­ate the process of FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions as soon as pos­si­ble,” he added.

China is now speed­ing up the es­tab­lish­ment of a high­stan­dard free trade net­work by car­ry­ing for­ward Chi­naJa­pan-Korea FTA, China-Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil FTA, Asia Pa­cific Free Trade Area, and Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship.

In 2015, trade be­tween China and Canada con­trib­uted less than 2 per­cent to the to­tal Chi­nese for­eign trade.

It is also said that the func­tions of the Ren­minbi trad­ing cen­tre in Toronto should be fully uti­lized so that the en­ter­prises from both sides can save trans­ac­tion costs, mit­i­gate for­eign ex­change risk and bet­ter price the prod­ucts.

“In ad­di­tion, we should ex­pe­dite the de­vel­op­ment of oil and gas pipe­lines and ex­port ter­mi­nals in the western part of Canada and build a mar­itime en­ergy cor­ri­dor link­ing the two coun­tries at an early date,” Xue added.

The fo­rum was co-hosted by Jiangsu In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada, Canada China Busi­ness Coun­cil (CCBC) On­tario Charpter, Canada China Cham­ber of Com­merce and China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Trade Canada. Some 150 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both Cana­dian and Chi­nese en­ter­prises and busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions in On­tario, in­clud­ing en­trepreneurs and econ­o­mists, at­tended the fo­rum.

Canada Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade Chrys­tia Free­land con­veyed greet­ings to this fo­rum as well.

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