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Trudeau’s Liberal Agenda on Trade Falls on Deaf Ears in China

Posted December 08, 2017

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues


Justin Trudeau saw a third way for trade, preaching “progressive” values as a fix to a global order put on the defensive by populists like Donald Trump.

But this week in China, he got a crash course on how difficult it is to sell.

The Canadian prime minister wrapped up a visit to the Asian powerhouse on Thursday without launching free trade talks, despite high expectations. He has been pushing both the US president and China’s Xi Jinping to adopt provisions like labour, gender and environmental guarantees to calm working-class anxiety and keep trade flowing. Instead of a receptive audience, he found a culture clash.

“It’s a little unrealistic for Canada to use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in trade talks with countries whose conditions and aspirations are greatly different,” said He Weiwen, deputy director of the Centre for China and Globalisation in Beijing and a former commerce ministry official. Both countries “have a positive attitude” toward a potential free trade deal, “however practicality needs to be applied when it comes down to actual negotiation.” Click here to read more.