NEW CHALLENGES NEW STRATEGIES, Canada-China Economic & Trade Outlook of 2021

Event Objective:

Four Canada-China relations experts discuss new strategies and challenges in economic engagement between China and Canada.

Event Date:

April 10, 2021, 4PM PST (Vancouer)
April 11, 2021, 7PM PST (Beijing)

Hosting Partners:

Europe Asia Economic Forum

Speakers Titles:

Guo Ding
Journalist and commentator, Founding President of Canada Committee 100 Society
Chak Au
Richmond City Councillor
Wei Shao
Partner of Dentons Canada LLP, Chairman of China Business, General Counsel of North America Business Progressive Association
Jiawei Zhang
Founder of Zhang Jiawei Research Fund for Niche Behavioral Economics, Chief Researcher of Canada Grizzly Bear Institute Centre
Host: Lisa Wu
TV Host & Reporter for Phoenix Satellite Television America-Canada region

Event Results:

More than 300 people joined the online event

The Q&A session encouraged dynamic discussion between the panel speakers and participants

The event was streamed live on YouTube and received considerable viewership

Event Review:

Mr. Ding Guo, Journalist and Commentator, Founding President of Canada Committee 100 Society

Keynote Topic: Retrospect and Prospect of Canada-China Relations

Mr. Ding Guo is one of the most reputable and respected political commentators among the Chinese diaspora. His comments and articles have been regularly published on news sources across China Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America. He has also published several books pertaining to modern history, politics, migration and international affairs.

  • Mr. Guo hopes that there will be free, open and rational discussions on Canada-China trade relations within the Canadian society. Mr. Guo emphasizes the importance in avoiding extremist sentiments and labeling differentiating opinions as either “pro-CCP” or “anti-CCP” arbitrarily.
  • Time has shifted and changed 50 years after Canada and China first established diplomatic relations. Nowadays, Canada-China relations and U.S.-China relations are closely connected.
  • Public opinion on Canada-China relations from 50 years ago was built upon official sentiments; however, the deeper interactions and mutual understanding among average citizens lacks solid foundations.
  • The Chinese diaspora is not fully assimilated into the Canadian society; the Chinese diaspora also lacks sufficient understanding of Canada’s mainstream sets of values.
  • The future development of Canada-China relations requires the maintenance and promotion of deeper interaction and mutual understanding among average citizens based on the foundational principles of being realistic, pragmatic, and solidity.
  • Harper Administration’s policies towards China was more constructive. Choosing a binary opposition model is not only not in the national interest of Canada, but also a false proposition.
  • Mr. Guo emphasizes on the points of adhering to mutual respects and avoiding politicizing bilateral relations, in order to avoid hindering the mutually beneficial trade relations and cultural exchanges.
  • It is vital for Canada to maintain its independent foreign policies, especially in upholding an independent trade policies with China.
  • Canada needs China to continue developing Asian markets.
  • Although India and other Asian markets are also considerably attractive, it is evident that the Indian market is far less open compared to the Chinese market.
  • The development of Canada-China relations is closely connected to Canada’s interests in Asia.

Shao Wei, Partner of Dentons Canada LLP, Chairman of China Business, General Counsel of North America Business Progressive Association

Keynote Topic: Cold Politics and Warm Economy – the New Normal

Mr. Wei in international commercial trades with China and providing legal consultation for governmental organizations, as well as Canadian and Chinese diplomatic corps.

  • U.S. policies’ influence on Canada-China relations: Canada’s export policies to China could also tighten China should the U.S. continues to tighten its export policies. Approval may need to be obtained from the U.S. once involving American patents, services, technologies, etc.
  • It is highly necessary to maintain a relatively independent foreign and trade policies:
  • Canada’s political economy is built upon trades; therefore, Canada’s national interests and trade development are closely interlinked.

  • Public opinion on Canada-China relations from 50 years ago was built upon official sentiments; however, the deeper interactions and mutual understanding among average citizens lacks solid foundations.
  • Canada’s mainstream ideologies and the disagreement on its China policies all have the potential of influencing future trade policies.
  • It is evident that Canada-China relations may no longer return to the era of Canada’s previous administrations:
  • The future development of Canada-China relations needs to avoid negatively affecting trade relations due to the differences in value sets.
    Instead, both countries are encouraged to learn from each other while attempting to reach a new equilibrium.

  • Both the Western society and the Canadian population need to maintain continuous communication between the two countries, as well as observing the bilateral relations from a new perspective.

Zhang Jiawei, Founder of Zhang Jiawei Research Fund for Niche Behavioral Economics, Chief Researcher of Canada Grizzly Bear Institute

Keynote Topic: Hong Kong’s Influence on Canada-China Relations

Professor Zhang is the Chief Researcher at the Canada Grizzly Bear Institute, as well as the founder of the Niche Behavioural Economics Research Fund. From 2013 to 2019, Professor Zhang worked as a visiting scholar at Simon Fraser University (Canada), Sofia University (USA), Cambridge University (U.K.) and University of Toronto (Canada).

  • Trigger of the deterioration of Canada-China relations: the arrest of Meng Wanzhou; Hong Kong’s Extradition Bill event led to the cooling of Canada-China trade relations.
  • The certainty of Canada’s position on Hong Kong-China relations:
    • Canada is an American ally, whose economy is highly interlinked to the United States.
    • Similarly, Hong Kong can not survive without Mainland China’s economic support; therefore, Hong Kong will also choose to stand with Beijing.
  • China’s tightening grip on Hong Kong policies will lead to the growingly robust attitude towards China from the international community. China has responded and will continue to respond with measures of equal strength.
  • Both Canada-China relations and Canada-Hong Kong trade relations are facing great uncertainties. Hong Kong’s future is leaving investors around the world in doubts.

  • Canada is encouraged to strengthen its trade relations with Hong Kong based on the reality of Hong Kong’s growing trade relations with Mainland China.
    • Maintaining warm trade relations under the circumstances of cooling politics is a vital strategy for Canada’s national interests.
    • A healthy trade relation with Hong Kong is beneficial towards Canada’s economic recovery.
  • A distance is to be kept between politics and the economy.
  • The Chinese government is encouraged to seek answers from history and to observe and understand the historic roots and certainty of Canada’s role as an American ally, in order to maintain the long-term friendship between Canada and China while seeking a new equilibrium between common grounds and differences.

  • At the meantime, Canada and the Western society are also encouraged to observe and understand the historic formation and current structure of the Chinese government. Sanctions and decoupling are not effective measures in building and maintaining relations with China.
  • Canada’s technology sector is worthy of China’s deep cultivation and investment.
  • Mr. Zhang also encourages the cultural exchange among businesses, academia and students, in order to promote the mutual understanding between Canada and China. The Chinese diaspora in Canada is also encouraged to clearly observe the situations to protect personal safety and rights; the Chinese diaspora is to contribute to constructing a diverse Canadian society with a promising attitude.
  • Mr. Zhang’s hope in Hong Kong’s future: Hong Kong’s newly enforced National Security Legislation will not affect the normal operation of its financial market and the routine operation of the financial institutions

Chak Au, City Councilor of Richmond, BC

Keynote Topic: Observing the Prospects of Canada-China Relations through the Lens of Trends in Canadian Public Opinions

Mr. Au is an incumbent city councilor of the City of Richmond. Mr. Au has actively participated in international humanitarian causes and contributed greatly towards the construction of peaceful racial relations and cultural diversity. Before immigrating to Canada in 1988, Mr. Au was professionally trained as a family therapist and worked as an assistant professor in Hong Kong.

  • The Canadian government responds and follows the people’s wills, the government’s attitude represents the people’s choices.
  • According to APF data, the Canadian population’s attitude towards China has been relatively favorable over the last decade.
  • In 2012, China indicated the necessity in strengthening the implementation of Canada-China strategic relations. The two countries also signed the Canada-China Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in the same year.
  • While engaging in dialogues with China, former Canadian leaders not only emphasized on economic development, but also engaged in discussion on China’s human rights record
  • The Chinese government maintained a peaceful attitude during high-level dialogues and indicated that it is normal for two countries to have differing opinions on human rights issues. Trade and economic relations between the two countries also reached a peak while human rights issues were being discussed.
  • The incumbent Trudeau government announced Canada’s joining of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in 2016. The mechanism of annual high-level dialogues between the Chinese premier and the Canadian prime minister was also established in the same year. However, the Trudeau administration attempted to engage in discussions regarding China’s human rights issues during the official state visit to China in 2017, which resulted in the abortion of the Free Trade Agreement discussion. Canada-China relations started to deteriorate since then.
  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Canada in 2019 and announced the beginning of the Golden Decade of Canada-China relations. Canada-China relations reached its all-time low since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in the same year.