Canada wary as Chinese unexpectedly raise free-trade talks

Au moins, le Canada semble moins naïf qui le laisse croire.

Une mondialisation à sens unique ne fonctionne pas.

Si les règles du jeu favorisent seulement le monde financier et les pays émergents, les pays industriels doivent s’en méfier, car les politiciens sont imputables à leurs peuples, non pour satisfaire les ‘Hedges Funds’.

Extrait de : Canada wary as Chinese unexpectedly raise free-trade talks, By Jason Fekete and Mark Kennedy, The Gazette, Postmedia News February 9, 2012

BEIJING — The prospect of Canada entering free-trade talks with China is suddenly being discussed, as Chinese leaders indicated during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit that they are prepared to head down that path — even though Canadian officials aren't so sure this country is ready for the jump.

The development came as China and Canada declared Thursday that bilateral relations have reached "a new level" following a series of multibillion-dollar trade and business agreements to ship additional Canadian petroleum, uranium and other products to the Asian superpower.

The two countries have agreed that a joint economic study being conducted will be completed by May 2012, "after which Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussions on deepening trade and economic relations."

China's political leaders say they're interested in exploring the feasibility of a full free-trade agreement. But Canadian officials accompanying Harper weren't going that far just yet, stressing instead that the ultimate goal is to deepen trade in key markets.

The China Daily newspaper reported Thursday that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao used his meeting Wednesday with Harper to urge him for an early signing of the foreign investment protection agreement (FIPA) following the conclusion of negotiations.

Wen also told Harper the two sides "could step up discussions on the feasibility of a free-trade agreement," according to the newspaper.

While the FIPA could be ratified within months, it has taken 18 years to conclude negotiations, so it doesn't appear a full free-trade deal is anywhere on the horizon.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast, when asked about China's apparent interest in exploring a full free-trade deal, told reporters: "Let's not get ahead of ourselves here."

"We've achieved a milestone, which is a foreign investment protection-promotion agreement, which really puts our investments on a firm footing," Fast said.

"The prime minister made it very clear that he's looking forward now to deepening our trading relationship with China," Fast said, and that the two sides want to make sure they identify the areas where there are complementarities in their economies.

"Our end game is to deepen our trade relationship in one of our key priority markets, which is China."

The minister said he expects both sides will move forward quickly to sign and ratify the FIPA.

Back in Canada, one of this country's foremost experts on Chinese affairs explained why China might appear keen to pursue free trade, while Canadians are more cautious.

China has intentionally maintained a lax intellectual property

China, experts argue, has intentionally maintained a lax intellectual property enforcement regime for decades, waiting until its internal invention industry had become strong enough to warrant something more robust

“As if the Chinese did not know what they’re doing and suddenly they have now seen the light and have embraced the international patent system and so forth.

“No, this was a deliberate policy of the Chinese state. It was a calculated and well planned thing. It wasn’t as though they didn’t understand the value of patents,

“In Canada, you have maybe 60 patent infringement cases filed per year, maybe 80, and in the United States there are 3,000,” said Mr. Elmer. “China now has more than 3,000 … probably closer to 4,000 now.” (1)

"The Chinese already do very well in our market and they would like to do better," said professor Charles Burton of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., and a former Canadian diplomat who worked in the embassy in China.

"They have an excellent experience here (in trade) because we have the rule of law that makes contracts and they can be pretty much assured that if Canada agreed to something — that even if it turned out to work out against Canadian interests — that it would happen for them."

But on the flip side, he explained, Canadians would have plenty of reason to wonder if the Chinese are genuine about seeking free trade — particularly after many years in which Canadian businesses often found they were dealt with unfairly after they invested in China.

"I really don't see us getting a free-trade agreement with China any time soon," said Burton.

"If we were going to have free trade with China, there would have to be a high degree of trust that both sides will make the appropriate accommodations for the other side. I just don't think we have the degree of faith in the goodwill of the Chinese side to engage in reciprocal concessions. It seems that most of China's interaction with the West in terms of trade is to serve their own interest."

Harper and the Chinese leadership said Thursday the economic co-operation agreements — and billions of dollars in new private-sector deals — signed by the two countries over the past few days are unprecedented and will open the door to additional trade and investment.

The new deals further solidify a "strategic" partnership between the countries, particularly in terms of natural resources, with China's top political leaders calling for "more large-scale co-operation" with Canada on oil and gas to feed China's seemingly insatiable energy appetite.

Harper announced Thursday, following meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, that the countries have struck an agreement that will allow Canadian uranium companies to "substantially increase exports to China."

The new uranium protocol is a legally binding agreement that supplements a 1994 pact between Canada and China for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

That news follows up their announcement Wednesday that negotiations have concluded on a foreign-investment-protection agreement nearly 20 years in the making, but which still faces a legal review and ratification before it becomes law.

"The cumulative impact of these accords truly takes Canada-China relations to a new level," Harper told corporate leaders from both countries gathered in Beijing for the fifth Canada-China Business Forum.

The prime minister will continue his four-day China trade mission with a stop in Guangzhou on Friday for a keynote speech to another business audience.

On Saturday, he'll head to the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, where he'll provide more details on China preparing to loan a pair of giant pandas to zoos in Calgary and Toronto for a period of five years each.

Harper also announced during his speech to the business forum that more than 20 commercial agreements — valued at close to $3 billion and involving nearly 50 Canadian and Chinese companies — have been signed during the trade mission to the Middle Kingdom.

"Canada has the resources, technological sophistication, and geo-strategic positioning to complement China's economic growth strategy. And China's growth, in turn, complements our determination to diversify our export markets," Harper told corporate leaders.

"We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China, once infrastructure is in place."

Vendre de la matière première non renouvelable au pays qui fait du ‘Dumping social’ à grande échelle, l’art de se faire Hara-Kiri à nous mêmes.

Harper has said building pipelines to the West Coast — such as the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline and a separate one for liquefied natural gas — is a national priority as Canada looks to ship its vast resources to Asia.

Some of the major trade deals signed Thursday feature such Canadian corporate titans as commuter train manufacturer Bombardier Inc., which has won contracts to supply rail cars and other technological expertise to Chinese public transit systems.

Telus and Bell, two of Canada's telecommunications giants, signed deals to upgrade their networks with equipment purchased from a major Chinese manufacturer.à

Évidemment, ça ne fait pas grand emplois au Canada.

Also, Canaccord Financial and the Export-Import Bank of China announced their plans to establish a $1-billion U.S. fund dedicated to investing in Canadian natural resources.

China is looking for more oil and gas from Canada, with Chinese Vice-Premier Li saying Thursday his country wants to increase imports of energy and natural resources from Canada.

State-owned Chinese oil and gas firms have invested more than $10 billion into Alberta's oilsands and B.C. shale gas plays over the past couple of years alone, and the two partners expect the trend will continue.

"Canada is one of the countries with a deep energy and resource reserve. China, meanwhile, is a large and stable market," Li, through a translator, told the business forum. He called for "more large-scale co-operation" on petroleum and minerals.

"Never before has Canada-China business co-operation been so deep-based and wide ranging," Li added.

Il faut faire très attention à cette politique, surtout avec notre seul pays de proximité qui est les États-Unis, qui commencent à être sérieusement agacés par balance commerciale fortement négative favorisant outrancièrement la Chine.