Will Trudeau Forge a Trade Deal with China’s President Xi Jinping?

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to China on Sunday, and one of his topmost priorities is forging a trade deal with the Asian economic giant. Trudeau’s mission comes in the wake of the United States of America under President Trump becoming increasingly protectionist.
Presently, Canada is working round the clock to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obama’s administration championed the partnership, but the Trump’s government has shied away from it leaving Canada in the forefront of the negotiations. Canada’s appetite for trade deals is at an all-time; Trudeau’s government is engaged in talks with numerous countries including India, Japan, and Singapore. So far, the country has closed some deals including the late September’s free-trade pact with Europe. With Trudeau in China, the list of nations that Canada is courting is likely to get longer.
Economists and other experts have interpreted Canada’s intense interest in closing trade deals with other countries as a strategic move to replace the role previously played by the U.S: championing free trade. Dan Ciuriak approves of Trudeau’s leadership. Ciuriak, an economist and a former government employee, believes that there is lack of leadership (in spearheading global free trade) and Canada can seize the opportunity to carve a niche for itself the leading global champion of free trade.
Were a trade deal between Canada and China forged, analysts believe that Canada would have made it clear to the U.S that it has other options. Apparently, Trump’s administration is frustrating Nafta, and Canada and Mexico are not willing to submit to the demands of Mr Trump’s government. A trade deal with China would be a perfect substitution of Nafta. However, some underlying issues have long hindered Canada and China from entering into a trade agreement. They include China’s authoritarian government, disregard of human rights, and government’s ownership of many Chinese companies.
Canada is expected to tread carefully as it seeks to partner with China. Previously, the country has held series of talks with China instead of moving swiftly to trade negotiations. However, according to Gordon Houlden, the Chinese government is highly expectant with the current visit by Trudeau. Gordon is a senior fellow at the China Institute of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
However, some analysts hold the view that Canada’s economic power is likely to hinder it from playing the role previously performed by the U.S. At best, Canada is a medium-sized economic power, and it may not be appealing to some countries as a highly beneficial partner.

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