Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
Photo Credit: PC / Sean Kilpatrick

Justin Trudeau leaves China without securing start of free trade talks


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departed China on Thursday without securing the start of free trade talks with the world’s second-largest economy, but said he made substantial progress during his four-day visit.

Speaking to reporters before his return to Canada, the prime minister acknowledged the difficulties dealing with a country that doesn’t share the same commitment to democratic ideals.

Trudeau also warned that Canadians need to lower their expectations about just how fast the two countries can bridge their substantial differences on the road to a free trade deal.

“Canadians should be under no illusions that a free trade deal with China will be easy,” Trudeau said.

It appears China has balked at Trudeau’s demands that prior to beginning formal free trade negotiations Beijing agree to a broad framework that will incorporate Ottawa’s so-called progressive trade agenda that would place the environment, labour, gender and governance issues formally on the bargaining table.

“What Canadians expect as we engage with trade — and particularly a country as significant and as much of an economic powerhouse as China has become — is that they need to be assured that the values, the interests and the jobs Canadians hold dear are going to be compatible and fit within that trade deal,” Trudeau said.

Searching for a ‘mutually beneficial’ way
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in Fortune Global Forum Armchair Discussion *Global Leadership: The View from Canada*, moderated by Nancy Gibbs in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in Fortune Global Forum Armchair Discussion *Global Leadership: The View from Canada*, moderated by Nancy Gibbs in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. © PC/Sean Kilpatrick

Facing the potential demise of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico, and an increasingly protectionist policy of the Trump administration, the Trudeau government is seeking to diversify its international trade to lessen its dependence on the U.S. market.

However, Canada needs to find “mutually beneficial” ways of dealing with challenges posed by China’s mixed economy that features powerful state-owned and private enterprises and could potentially expose Canadian companies to unfair competition, Trudeau said.

“That has particular implications when you have state-owned enterprises competing in the same sphere as private enterprises,” Trudeau said. “Any discussion on trade as we move forward needs to reflect on the challenges, the opportunities, the advantages and the inconvenience when two systems that are different are trying to collaborate so we can create benefits for both groups of citizens.”

The government faced criticism for allowing the takeover of Norsat by Chinese-based Hytera Communications Co. Ltd. without a full national security review. Vancouver-based Norsat makes radio systems and transceivers used by the American military and other NATO partners.

The federal government is now weighing a proposal by a Chinese firm to buy the Canadian construction company, Aecon, which has been involved in landmark projects like the CN Tower, the internationally recognized Toronto landmark.

He also said he is committed to standing up for Canadian values in a “respectful way,” including protecting the interests of Canadians behind bars.

Trudeau said the two countries have already had good success in partnering on the environment.

International security and consular issues also discussed
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in an eye-dotting ceremony to awaken the lion as he is given a tour of the Chen Clan Academy in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in an eye-dotting ceremony to awaken the lion as he is given a tour of the Chen Clan Academy in Guangzhou, China on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. © PC/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau also said he spoke to President Xi Jinping about the situation around North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program. Canada is co-hosting a meeting with the United States next year to increase diplomatic and political pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

“I had a good conversations with President Xi about this … and I look forward to continuing conversations with our American partners who have a continued role to play in the peace process that we would like to see get underway in North Korea but we still have a lot of work to do before that.”

Finally, Trudeau said he raised urgent consular issues with the Chinese leadership, in particular the detention of two British Columbia winery owners involved in a customs dispute.

With files from Mike Blanchfield of The Canadian Press and Chris Hall of CBC News

Categories: International, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.