Upholding Mutual Respect for Win-Win Cooperation
Ambassador Cong Peiwu Publishes a Signed Article on Website of Canada China Business Council
10 October 2020
China and Canada officially established diplomatic relations on October 13, 1970. On the occasion of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, I would like to share with all friends in Canada my views on our two countries’ economic and trade cooperation.
Over the past 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries’ economic and trade cooperation has achieved win-win results in general. In 1970, the trade volume in goods between China and Canada was only 150 million US dollars. However, by 2019, it reached 74 billion US dollars, with an increase of nearly 500 times. Over the past 20 years, the ratio of Canada’s goods export to China to its total goods export has gradually increased from 1.0% to about 4.0%. Today, tourism and overseas study have become the highlights of service trade between the two countries. There are more than 200 thousand Chinese students studying in Canada, and more than 1.5 million people traveling between our two countries each year. China has remained Canada’s second largest trading partner for many years. According to the latest Canadian statistics, as of the end of 2019, the stock of Canada’s direct investment in China stood at almost 13.4 billion Canadian dollars, and the stock of Chinese direct investment in Canada was close to 21.2 billion Canadian dollars.
Why did China-Canada economic and trade cooperation go that far and fast? I think there were mainly two reasons: first, economies of the two countries were highly complementary. And second, China’s rapid development brought about huge spillover effect. Complementarities have created needs to exchange needed goods and services, while development has continuously promoted the extension and upgrading of economic and trade cooperation. In terms of trade, a few decades ago, the type and amount of goods traded bilaterally were very limited. Canada mainly exported agricultural and chemical products to China, and imported labor-intensive products such as luggage and clothing from China. With the economic growth and industrial upgrading, China’s demands become greater and broader, and its supply capacity is constantly improving. Today, Canada’s exports to China are more diversified, with significant increase in the exports of resources and seafood. In addition to traditional consumer goods, Chinese mechanical and electrical products have become the mainstream of Canadian imports. In terms of investment cooperation, Bombardier, which entered the Chinese market at a relatively early time, participated in the construction of rail transit in some major cities; Companies such as Novelis and Pangeo achieved success in China. Most recently, several companies investing in China such as Canada Goose have emerged as distinct business cards for Canada. In the course, industrial organizations from both sides like CCBC have been playing an essential role like bridges connecting two sides.
In the above stories, Canada’s advantages in resources, technologies, and brands have met the rapidly growing needs of the Chinese market, effectively driving China-Canada economic and trade cooperation toward achieving the breakthroughs in both quantity and quality. This is the gratifying changes in bilateral economic and trade cooperation since the establishment of China-Canada diplomatic relations, especially over the past two decades.
In the future, the factors that support the in-depth development of China-Canada economic and trade cooperation will continue to exist. Recently, organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development have predicted respectively that China may become the only major economy to realize positive economic growth in 2020. They made optimistic outlooks for China’s economic growth in 2021. During the 14th Five-Year period, China will foster, over time, a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other and promote opening-up at a higher level. The development of China will add impetus to China-Canada economic and trade cooperation.
China is still in the process of urbanization. China is expected to become the world’s largest consumer market. China is committed to technological innovation... All of these observations of China’s development demonstrate the unlimited business opportunities in economic and trade cooperation with China. Canada’s industries with great strength like finance and insurance and health care could enjoy more opportunities to open up new markets in China. High-tech fields such as artificial intelligence, aviation and aerospace, information and communication, and clean technology are also potential favored areas of the two sides’ cooperation.
China’s new Foreign Investment Law entered into force this year and improved the legal system for protecting the rights of foreign investors. China has further shortened negative lists for foreign investment to grant access to more areas for foreign investments. All of these moves demonstrate China’s determination and actions to further opening-up. As scheduled, China will host the Third China International Import Expo in Shanghai this year to encourage imports. As far as I know, many Canadian companies are actively preparing for the Expo. Recently, I have noticed from media that a Canadian wine producer is confident in expanding their exports to China through CIIE. I hope Chinese consumers could therefore have more options in wines.
China is committed to promoting a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation. China’s rapid development benefits from its deep engagement in globalization while trade serves as a major contributor to the economy of Canada. The two sides are supporters of the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone. In April this year, China and Canada, together with other WTO members, have formally established the “multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement”. In July, 13 countries including China and Canada issued an initiative to safeguard the security of global industrial and supply chains against the backdrop of COVID-19.
The current China-Canada relations are in a rather difficult period, for a reason known to all. Many Canadian think tanks and media believe that Canada should not choose sides between China and the United States. We hope that Canada can make the right decision independently from the perspective of its own interests and correct its mistakes, to create a favorable atmosphere for further strengthening economic and trade cooperation, and to create conditions for the bilateral relations to return to the right track. I believe that as long as we uphold mutual respect for win-win cooperation, China-Canada economic and trade relations will surely achieve healthy and stable development.
Founded in 1978, Canada China Business Council is a famous non-profit organization with seven chapters in both China and Canada. CCBC helps its members carry out economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.