Friday, November 07, 2014

My Interview with China Daily

This past couple of weeks, I have been interviewed by Mainland China "media" about Canada-China relations.  None of them have been actually published in their ostensible outlets insofar as I am aware (CCTV, People's Daily, etc.).  But it is intriguing to see what the Chinese regime is interested in knowing about.  

Here is one done by e-mail yesterday with my responses:

The prime minister's meeting with Chinese President Xi - what do you think will be the main topics they will discuss?
There are broad range of topics of interest to both sides that will likely be on the agenda for the talks between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of China. Certainly both will want to engage on trade and investment. Canada would like better access to the Chinese market to address the 3 to 1 trade imbalance between our countries. China would also like more assurances the Chinese state firms will have major investments in Canadian natural resources and infrastructure reviewed and approved approved by the Canadian government in a timely fashion. 
The Canadian government has alleged the Chinese state entities have engaged in cyber espionage on Canadian government computers in 2011 and earlier this year. Canada, like the other APEC nations who have similar concerns, would like a more fulsome assurance from the President of China that there will be no further incidents of this nature. 
There is also the consular case of Kevin and Julia Garratt who have been held without charge by the Chinese authorities for three months now. This matter is taken very seriously by Canadians so I'm sure the Prime Minister Harper will ask President Xi for an explanation of the nature of the evidence against them and will urge that they be given access to their lawyer and due process of law.

Will they discuss both countries response to Isis and Ebola?
These two matters will likely come up in multilateral discussions at APEC but I doubt that they will be major issues in the bilateral meeting between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of China.

The ratification of FIPA (investment treaty) in September by Canada did this help to set a positive tone for the meeting.
I believe that this ratification in the face of considerable political opposition is expected to be answered by reciprocal gesture of goodwill on the part of the Government of China.

China doesn't like the restrictions on investment in Canada's energy sector by State-Owned firms - will there be any progress on this issue?
The Government of Canada can give an assurance to the Government of China that Canada welcomes Chinese state investment in our energy sector, but that Canada will not permit Chinese state firms to gain a majority controlling share in Canadian enterprises in our critical natural resources sector. 
China has much more stringent restrictions on foreign investment in the natural resources sector in China and we do not anticipate the China will make any reciprocal concessions as the Chinese government sees this as a matter of national security.

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