Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Translation of Interview with Me on Front Page of Today's Toronto Ming Pao

Canada-China Relations Continue to Develop: Hu Jintao Will Make an Official Visit to Canada Prior to Summit
[Ming Pao Report] The President of China, Hu Jintao, will shortly make a visit to Ottawa. Charles Burton, professor at Ontario's Brock University, who has served as Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada to China, indicated yesterday that this shows that Canada and China both place great importance on their bilateral relationship.

Charles Burton said that of all the heads of state attending the two summits, Hu Jintao is the only head of state who will make an official visit to Canada just prior. He indicated that at the end of last year when our Prime Minister Harper visited China, Premier Wen Jiabao noted that the Canadian Prime Minister had not visited China for many years. Harper also said that no Chinese leader had visited Canada in many years and invited Hu Jintao to visit Canada. Now the visit from Hu Jintao will indeed take place. 
Looking back over the period since the Harper Government came to power, the originally quite close Canada-China relationship cooled down. Burton is of the opinion that that the primary reason for this is because when the Harper Government came into office they lacked experience of government and also were in a minority government situation. It was not a stable state of affairs. This meant that the new government had to be primarily occupied with domestic policy and reduce the focus on foreign affairs. It was not only that they could not give due attention to China, but also were not able to visit other nations with rapidly developing economies such as Russia, Brazil, India, etc. He said that now the situation of the Conservative Party is relatively stable. This gives them an opportunity to strengthen foreign relations. In recent years, Harper has increased his visits abroad, not only single nation visits but also participation in international conferences. This now extends to hosting global affairs conferences such as the G8 and G20.
Looking to the future of Canada-China relations Charles Burton sees it as a long and arduous journey. Over the past years the trade imbalance between Canada and China has become serious and is increasing year by year. At present the imbalance is 1:4, that is to say that for each 100 dollars of commodities that Canada imports from China, Canada exports 25 dollars worth to China. He says that Canada is losing market share for its commodities sales into the Chinese market, while the share of the Chinese market held by Britain and Australian products has been increasing. There are many factors underlying this problem. These include the Chinese policies on determination of the value of the yuan for foreign exchange, inadequate protection of intellectual property, and long delays in completing negotiation of a foreign investment protection agreement, etc.
http://www.mingpaotor.com/htm/News/20100615/taa1.htm or here.

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