Poll: Should Canada pursue a free trade deal with China?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during a news conference meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Fred Dufour/Pool

As NAFTA negotiations stall over increasingly irreconcilable differences between the Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and the U.S. on the other, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pushed Canada to embrace free trade deals with other countries and economic blocs. The implementation of CETA, parts of which came into force in September, and the new TPP-11 negotiations signal the drive to diversify the list of countries with which Canada has signed free trade agreements.

However, a free trade deal with China is different. As the world’s second largest economy, one that is closing in fast on America, a trade deal with China comes with benefits and risks. Increased market access for Canadian products in a country of 1.3 billion consumers has been often depicted as an opportunity for Canadian exports. The agriculture and mining sector are seen as the greatest beneficiaries to a possible free trade deal with China.

But the Chinese won’t sign a trade deal unless they feel they’re getting something worthwhile in return. And there are fears that the Chinese will want barriers for items like steel, which China is overly supplied with, tariff-free access in Canada. But the details of what their objectives otherwise remain unclear, and remained ambiguous after Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emerged from a meeting in Beijing without the anticipated announcement that Canada was the first G-7 nation to pursue a free trade deal with China.

Therefore, is it in Canada’s interest to pursue a free trade deal with China? Let us know in the poll below!