Canada China Trade Relations: Who Gains?
Starting from the fall of 2016, there has been a renewed call for the strengthening of the Canada-China trade relations. In October 2016, a group of powerful Chinese business leaders known as China Entrepreneur Club (CEC) paid Canada an eight-day visit in a bid to connect with Canadian political and corporate elites. The group was made up of 50 Chinese firms with combined annual revenue of more than C$585 billion. Konglongw.com has been keen on reporting the development in Canada-China relationship.
The main focus of the visit was to discuss trade opportunities between Canada and China especially in the area of clean energy, mobile technology and consumer goods like wine, seafood, and agrifood products. One opportunity seems to have been neglected; two-way trade in services. This could prove an easy win for Canada.
Trade in Merchandise
Canadian-China trade relationship is almost always limited to trade in merchandise. The two-way trade in 2015 between the two countries added up to C$86 billion, about 8 percent of the total two-way merchandise trade of Canada for the year. 8 percent may look like a small number but China is second largest Canada’s trading partner behind the United States.
A closer analysis of the merchandise trade statistics shows that China gains more than Canada. Over three-quarters of the two-way merchandise trade are imports into Canada while the remaining one-quarter are exports from Canada to China.
Topping the list of Canadian imports are electronic machines, mechanical appliances, toys, furniture, vehicles, clothing, and articles of steel, iron, or plastic. The list of China’s import from Canada includes wood, minerals, canola seed, mechanical appliances, fertilizer, and seafood. The growing gap between China’s import and Canadian export is a potential source of concern.
Trade in Services
Trade in services is not always included in the two-way bilateral trade discussions between Canada and China. In 2014, the two-way trade in services between the two countries amounted to C$4.6 billion. The large bias existing in trade in merchandise between Canada and China is lacking in trade in services.
Canada exported C$2.3 billion in services to China in 2014 while C$2.2 billion was exported from China to Canada. The figures may not be as high as trade in merchandize but show lots of promise especially to Canada.