It is interesting to me that the U.S. is about to sign the first level of a new trade deal with China, and there appears to be no thought to a condition such as “provided China takes its foot off the throat of the Canadian canola industry.” I am not seeing anything like that.
Granted this is just the first step in what’s expected to be a protracted round of trade talks between the two super powers, but at the same time, Canada is somewhat of an innocent bystander to this whole trade war mess.
Canada was just fulfilling its legal obligations to the U.S. when in December 2018 Canada arrested a Chinese executive in Vancouver who is wanted on trade violation charges in the U.S. And for that gesture China stopped buying Canadian canola, and for a while stopped trade in Canadian beef and pork.
And never mind the ag commodities, China also arrested and jailed two Canadian citizens on some flimsy security excuse. Those guys have been sitting in a Chinese prison for more than a year.
Here’s part of a report on what the new trade deal involves.
“…it’s a modest trade agreement in which the U.S. administration will ease some sanctions on China and Beijing will step up its purchases of U.S. farm products and other goods. The main benefit is, the deal will defuse a conflict that has slowed global growth, hurt American manufacturers and weighed on the Chinese economy.
“…as part of this deal the U.S. administration dropped plans to impose tariffs on an additional $160 billion in Chinese imports. And it halved, to 7.5 per cent, existing tariffs on $110 billion of good from China. For its part, Beijing agreed to significantly increase its purchases of U.S. products. According to the Trump administration, China is to buy $40 billion a year in U.S. farm products — that’s pretty ambitious for China since it has never imported more than $26 billion a year in U.S. agricultural products.”
In a world of trillion dollar trade deals, maybe a few billion here and there isn’t great, but it doesn’t sound too bad to me.
In my thinking, if a neighbour helps me out and in doing so they end up enduring some injury or hardship, I have a responsibility to repair their damage as soon possible…perhaps even ahead of my own well being.
Apparently that’s not how it works in international trade negotiations.
Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]