Trudeau urges Cana­dian com­pa­nies to seek for­tune in China’s $5 tril­lion mar­ket

Truro Daily News - - CANADA -

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is play­ing up China’s po­ten­tial as a mar­ket for Cana­dian prod­ucts, tout­ing the benefits of glob­al­iza­tion and free trade amid the back­drop of Ot­tawa’s turn host­ing the lat­est round of NAFTA rene­go­ti­a­tion talks.

Trudeau urged Cana­dian small- and medium-sized busi­nesses to ex­plore the US$5 tril­lion re­tail op­por­tu­nity in China at a con­fer­ence Mon­day hosted by Chi­nese e-Com­merce gi­ant Alibaba. Cana­dian busi­nesses, he said, should fo­cus on op­por­tu­ni­ties out­side their bor­der to stoke trade re­la­tion­ships with global “neigh­bours.”

“So much of the world is look­ing in­wards, clos­ing off, go­ing pro­tec­tion­ist ev­ery now and then,” Trudeau said dur­ing a fire­side chat.

“Canada re­mains open and op­ti­mistic about the role we can play in the world.”

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma echoed Trudeau’s pro-free trade sen­ti­ments, even as his coun­try ex­pe­ri­ences ris­ing trade ten­sions with the U.S.

“In the fu­ture there will not be made in Canada, made in Amer­ica,

made in China. Most of the prod­ucts will be made in the in­ter­net,” he said.

“You have 1.5 mil­lion Chi­nese community (in Canada)... these are the am­bas­sadors of your prod­ucts.”

The event took place the same day Ot­tawa played host to a third round of talks with the U.S. and Mex­ico to re­place the 23-yearold North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment. The U.S. has called for an over­haul that would en­sure more pro­duc­tion in the U.S. and dra­mat­i­cally change its trade re­la­tion­ship with its clos­est neigh­bours.

Canada’s chief NAFTA ne­go­tia­tor said Mon­day that solid progress is be­ing made at the NAFTA talks, but it’s too soon to tell if a deal can be reached by the year-end dead­line set by the United States. Mean­while, U.S. Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wil­bur Ross said Mon­day in Beijing that Washington is hop­ing for con­crete progress dur­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s planned trip to China amid ris­ing trade ten­sions.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has crit­i­cized China’s large trade sur­pluses with the United States and threat­ened to raise tar­iffs on steel. He has or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether Beijing im­prop­erly pres­sures com­pa­nies to hand over tech­nol­ogy in ex­change for mar­ket ac­cess.

Alibaba is host­ing the con­fer­ence to pitch Cana­dian busi­nesses on the benefits of ac­cess­ing the grow­ing mid­dle class in China and the ap­prox­i­mately half a bil­lion ac­tive con­sumers that use its e-com­merce plat­form an­nu­ally. Alibaba says 3,600 Cana­dian com­pa­nies signed up to at­tend the event and the con­fer­ence had politi­cians from all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment in at­ten­dance, in­clud­ing the Prime Min­ster, On­tario premier Kath­leen Wynne and Toronto mayor John Tory.

CP PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau tours the mar­ket place with Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma at the Gate­way Con­fer­ence in Toronto on Mon­day.

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