Date: 02-15-12 17:50
The following are three articles on how Canada is edging towards China.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/catching-china-fever-from-oz-139202769.html A February 13, 2012 opinion piece titled "Catching 'China Fever' From Oz" from the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper's web site.
By: Matthew Fisher
CANBERRA, Australia -- Canadians are about to discover Prime Minister Stephen Harper has caught China fever. The prime minister arrived Tuesday in Beijing to shout that Canada is open for business.
Australia caught China fever some years ago and because of it Oz has been creating a staggering amount of wealth out of one of the greatest resource booms of all time.
To little fanfare elsewhere, Australia's trade to China has tripled over the past five years to more than $60 billion a year. When imports are included, trade between the countries is $80 billion a year, compared with a relatively piddling $30 billion a year of trade between Canada and China.
Moreover, Australia enjoys a three-to-one trade imbalance with China while China has a formidable four-to-one trade advantage over Canada.
But you ain't seen nothing yet. China has agreed to take $90 billion in natural gas exports from a field in Queensland while $75 billion is being spent to develop two other natural gas fields in northwestern Australia that promise much bigger exports to Asia.
Small wonder then that any Canadian government would want to get in on such a bonanza.
As good as trade with China has been for Australia, its relationship with the emerging superpower is complicated and there are lessons in it for Ottawa, which hopes to sign a deal for Canadian natural gas to be shipped to China through a marine export terminal under construction in Kitimat, B.C.
Aside from purchasing raw materials and buying resource companies, China has been keenly interested in acquiring fully integrated agricultural businesses that include land for grazing, sugar, cotton and vineyards as well as food processing plants and market delivery systems. Some Australian skeptics have expressed alarm at this unprecedented buying spree and have demanded the country's Foreign Investment Review Board get tougher on China investments. The flip side of the argument has been that blocking such deals would inhibit the kind of massive investments Australia needs and that its own financial sector lacks the cash to make.
As in Canada, among the other points of concern have been China's human-rights record and its ambitions in the South China Sea, where there's a web of competing territorial claims.
Alongside Australia's trade relationship with China, the two countries have met 13 times since 1997 to discuss human rights. Issues on the agenda at those meetings have included freedom of religion, the death penalty, forced labour and the rights of women and children and ethnic minorities including Tibetans and Muslims from Xinjiang, according to a submission to parliament.
As a result of differences over human rights and because Australia raised the possibility two years ago in a white paper on defence that China may at some point represent a military threat, there have been periods when Beijing has tried to teach Australia a lesson, according to Australians familiar with the file. But such attempts have ended in a whimper, not a bang.
Those here who have dealt with the Chinese say they have learned they are pragmatists who do not want to interfere with business. China does not buy or invest because it likes you. It does so because it is in its national interest and makes economic sense to do so. Countries that disapprove of China's human-rights record must pick their spots and remember that while there are serious problems of social injustice and corruption that must be addressed, the country has made great efforts to bring a lot of people out of poverty. What the Chinese do not take kindly to are tough public messages that leave them with little wiggle room.
On issues such as the South China Sea, Beijing prefers one-on-one talks to multilateral discussions. However, because there has been a consistent, co-ordinated message from the Association of Southwest Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia, among others, there have been signs that China has backed off a bit on its claims.
Still, with China today, it always comes back to trade, and everyone in Australia is aware exports to China are very heavily weighted toward natural resources.
If China goes south we take a big hit, one old China hand told me. But I don't like people who say we are too dependent. What should we do? Not sell it? You make the best of what you've got.
It is a message the Harper government is belatedly embracing.
Matthew Fisher is a columnist for Postmedia News.
Canada's caught China Fever from Oz? ;-0
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/from-nihao-to-yahoo-harper-woos-chinese-tourism-138915204.html A February 8, 2012 article titled "Harper: Investment deal shows Canada of strategic importance to China" from the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper's web site.
By: Stephanie Levitz
BEIJING, China - The conclusion of 18 years of talks with the Chinese for an investment protection deal marks a historic step forward in Canada-China relations, the prime minister said Wednesday.
At the end of his first full day in China, Stephen Harper held up the foreign investment promotion and protection deal as the result of legwork to repair a bruised relationship between the two countries.
"My sense is the willingness of the Chinese to conclude this agreement indicates to me that they do put increasing strategic importance on two-way investment between our countries," he told reporters.
A foreign investment promotion and protection deal, or FIPA, gives foreign investors assurances they'll be treated the same as domestic companies and allows for arbitration at an international tribunal-type body in disputes.
Details of the agreement were not released. It still has to undergo legal review by both countries and be ratified before it can come into force. In Canada, that will include debate in the House of Commons.
The deal was one of several signed on Harper's first full day of a three-city tour of China, his second visit since being elected prime minister.
His relationship with the Chinese leadership started off rocky, with Harper taking an aggressive stand on human rights that irked the Chinese.
But his first visit in 2009 turned a page, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the start of a bilateral meeting with Harper on Wednesday afternoon.
He said he hoped this visit could elevate the relationship further.
"At present, the international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes," Wen said, through a translator.
"Strengthening communication and co-operation is our shared aspiration and also serves the fundamental interests of our two countries."
While Harper sat down with Wen to talk economics, at least half the meeting was spent on other topics.
Harper did raise concerns about China's decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution that would have applied greater pressure on Syria in the wake of increased violence in that country.
"I raised, in very clear and strong terms, Canada's position on this issue," Harper told reporters.
"We would hope to see in the future action from the Security Council."
The media, both Chinese and Canadian, had been escorted out of the open portion of the talks just as Harper was about to indicate his intent to raise human rights issues.
Officials said Harper also raised the case of Huseyin Celil, a Canadian citizen serving a life sentence for speaking out on behalf of China's Uighur minority, restating the government's desire to have consular access to him.
Other consular issues were discussed, officials said, but they declined to provide details.
Harper told reporters that Wednesday's talks were an example that it was possible to talk both economics and rights with the Chinese.
"My view has always been that as long as you're frank and respectful, it is in fact necessary to engage China as we would engage every other country on the entire range of issues," he said.
"I think the Chinese have gotten more comfortable with that position as we've gone forward and I think we are beginning to achieve things."
In addition to FIPA, several other deals were reached with the Chinese in the areas of energy, natural resources, education, science and technology, and agriculture.
Harper began his three-city tour of China with a little piece of home.
The mascot for the Calgary Stampede tried to teach a cluster of Chinese youth clad in white cowboy hats the traditional greeting of the summer festival.
They couldn't quite muster the "yahoo," but Harper's message was that Canada is more than ready to welcome the Chinese with their official greeting of nihao.
He helped launch a new tourism campaign for Canada at the China Youth Services Travel bureau, one of several national agencies now allowed to market Canada as an official tourist destination since Beijing gave Canada Approved Destination Status in 2009.
Since then, tourism to Canada has increased by 25 per cent.
"It is one of the few industries in the world whose raw material is goodwill and whose finished product is friendship," Harper said Wednesday in speech to a crowd that was a mix of Chinese officials and the Canadian delegation.
"And I think the world needs all the friendship and goodwill it can get."
The head of CYTS said the Chinese are already impressed with Canada's landscape and citizens.
"Travel is the best way to build bridges between people and countries," said Zhang Li Jun, through a translator.
Strolling out of Beijing's Temple of Heaven complex after a tour earlier Wednesday, Harper remarked on the magnificence of the buildings.
Centuries ago, they were used by emperors to pray for good harvests.
And it's fitting metaphor for the prime minister's overall goal on this trip: harvesting more of China's wealth via its tourism, business and education sectors.
In an editorial, a Chinese state newspaper said Harper's visit comes at an important moment in bilateral relations.
But in order to develop them, both sides need to treat each other with respect and appropriately handle sensitive issues, the China Daily said.
"It is hoped the two countries can make their relationship a model for relations between countries of different social systems and modes of development."
Canada is of strategic importance to China? ;-0
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/for-harper-all-trade-roads-now-lead-to-china/article2327422/singlepage/#articlecontent A February 5, 2012 article titled "For Harper, all trade roads now lead to China" found at The Globe and Mail newspaper's web site.
By Campbell Clark
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper lands in Beijing Tuesday on his second visit to China, it won’t be to patch up dents in the relationship from his early days in office. In little steps, he’s launching the rewiring of Canada for Asia, and especially China.
In Kitimat, B.C., industry and government sketch lines on the map that will point Canada’s biggest export – energy – toward Asia for the first time. In Kanata, on the outskirts of Ottawa, Huawei engineers research new technology for the Chinese company even as it wires its current equipment into Canadian phone lines.
Perhaps the plainest sign that Mr. Harper has embraced that kind of trans-Pacific integration is his new push for a pipeline to pump Alberta oil to the West Coast and ship it by tanker to Asia – a redrawing of Canada’s energy infrastructure. But Canada is also organizing in other ways, marketing to Chinese students and tourists, approving Chinese corporate takeovers, speeding visas for visitors, and contemplating easing rules for exporting nuclear fuel.
In a closed-door speech last September, Canada’s ambassador to China, David Mulroney, told an audience packed with executives at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations that China’s rise means more than a little more trade.
“This change is happening for us,” he said, “almost ahead of the ability of Canadians to understand it.”
It goes beyond oil. Mr. Mulroney noted the two top tour operators bringing visitors to Niagara Falls’ Skylon Tower are now from China. This week, Mr. Harper will bring University of Western Ontario President Amitabha Chakma to China to further Canadian university plans to expand research links and recruit more Chinese students.
And it goes beyond this week’s deals. Mr. Harper faces pressure to seal a long-awaited investment agreement to allow arbitration for Canadian companies which fear arbitrary Chinese decisions. Also likely is an energy co-operation agreement, reviving under Mr. Harper a framework prior Liberal governments had signed with Beijing for ongoing talks on a key sector.
Energy is serving as the accelerator of ties. Mr. Harper now calls shipping oil and gas to Asia “a national priority.” At least one pipeline is slated to pump natural gas to Kitimat by 2015 for transformation into liquid gas for Asia. Mr. Harper wants an oil pipeline to follow.
That new circuitry means directing a massive industry that now exports only to the United States toward Asia. Chinese state-owned companies are deepening investments in Alberta’s oil sands and B.C. shale gas. Mr. Harper’s government has recently approved its first full multi-billion-dollar takeovers of whole companies.
China is seeking energy security, but also wants acceptance – assurances Chinese projects won’t be viewed with suspicion. For Canada, the trade-off is access to growth markets.
Saskatchewan’s Cameco, for example, struck two major deals in 2010 to sell uranium concentrate for Chinese reactors. But so far, it has shipped uranium to China that comes not from Canada, but from Namibia and Kazakhstan. There’s no bilateral deal that allows Canadian uranium to be exported to China, because Canada, like most uranium exporters, insists on a detailed accounting of how it is used.
In 2008, Australia eased those rules for China, sparking criticism from other countries. Now Canada is considering following suit.
And beyond energy, Canada’s exports are beset by a problem: medium-sized companies, often geared to selling services or parts to U.S. firms, haven’t cracked similar supply chains in China.
That’s why the unremarkable cubicles of Huawei’s Kanata research facility, in a black glass building overlooking a golf course, have sparked interest from federal officials.
Huwaei’s ambitions have been thwarted in the United States, where security services have raised suspicions it could imbed spyware on American telephone networks, and the company has been blocked from buying U.S. firms and obstructed in bids to supply phone carriers. In Canada, it has had a warmer welcome, building big chunks of Bell and Telus wireless networks.
It also set up a research facility in Kanata, where 120 engineers research next-generation technology for Huawei, as renovations prepare for a doubling of the staff.
U.S. security officials might frown, but Canadian trade officials are intrigued: it could be a route to Chinese supply chains if researchers here team up with Canadian firms who later become suppliers for products sold in China or around the world.
Mr. Mulroney, in his speech last year, said Canadians will find their interests are touched by China, in “sector after sector” and not just economically. “Certainly internationally,” he said, “but also domestically.”
Harper's hit list:
Energy: Expect Mr. Harper to highlight his push to build pipelines that allow oil and gas to be shipped to China, which is obsessed with energy security, and likely agree on regular talks on energy matters.
Investment: Canada wants Chinese money to develop Canadian business projects, and China wants assurances that its state-owned companies will be able to buy in, or take over, even bigger Canadian companies. And Mr. Harper is under pressure to finally seal a deal to protect Canadian companies from shifting Chinese government and court decisions.
Trade: Canada wants to sell more than energy: Mr. Harper’s delegation will be looking for ways to prod deals in other sectors, and try to create momentum toward broader trade negotiations.
People-to-people: The government sees business in recruiting foreign students and China as a big “market.” Mr. Harper plans to discuss ways to further boost tourism after a deal he signed in 2009 increased visits by 25 per cent.
Growth: China is a major engine for a shaky world economy, but the world fears a sudden braking as its export market weakens. Mr. Harper will be looking for signals China will be trying to boost its domestic consumption and keep its banking system stable.
Middle East: China just blocked a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, and buys a lot of oil from Iran. Mr. Harper, a hawk on Iran, will want to encourage China to help pressure Iran on its nuclear program, and provide less comfort to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
For Canada, all roads now lead to China? ;-)
I didn't know Huawei, the world's largest telecoms equipment maker, was working on Canadian phone lines. ;-)
It seems Canada has finally sussed out which side her bread is buttered on. ;-)
I love the Anglosphere!!!! ;-)