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Canada’s prime minister to appeal to China in key foreign policy speech


Canada’s prime minister to appeal to China in key foreign policy speech

trudeau speech china
Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will deliver a foreign policy speech today in the French seaside town of Biarritz on diplomatic and economic cooperation with the US and China ahead of an upcoming Group of Seven summit in the same place.

The US formed 75% of Canada’s total export market in 2018. While Washington agreed to exempt Canada from aluminium and steel tariffs on May 17—almost a year after it levied them—Mr Trudeau can be expected to announce steps to prevent future restrictive policies by the US.

Canada seeks to diversify its crude oil market beyond the US and towards the Indo-Pacific through its 1,150 km long Trans Mountain pipeline, which will carry 890,000 barrels per day. A smooth relationship with China—possibly its biggest consumer in the region—will be a priority for Canada.

Tensions between Canada and China are at a historic high after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on December 1, citing charges of the businessman violating US sanctions against Iran. In retaliation, on December 10, China detained Canadian diplomats Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor on allegations of espionage.

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While Ottawa may be able to pursue independent trade talks with each country in the short-term, troubling relations with both countries will create roadblocks for future negotiations in the long-term.

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