Tense relations with China are bad for business . . .
The ongoing confrontation with China is a drag on Canadian exports and Beijing is ignoring Canadian overtures for dialogue. A recently-released Canada China Business Council survey found that 20 per cent of bilaterally-engaged companies from both countries have been negatively impacted by the dispute, and 52 per cent of those companies have changed their business plans.
Nova Scotia forges ahead with China mission . . .
Amid this bilateral chill, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is headed to China’s Guangdong province this weekend on a high-profile trade mission. It will be the premier’s fifth visit to China since 2013, and importantly the first by a Canadian premier since the onset of the current standoff last December. China is Nova Scotia’s fastest-growing export market and ranks second only to the U.S. in terms of importance to the provincial economy. The Atlantic province’s exports to China grew 30 per cent in 2018 to reach C$794 million.
Bypassing Beijing . . .
Nova Scotia’s example of proactive engagement with China at the sub-national level offers a model for other provinces across Canada. Importantly, Nova Scotia’s engagement with the Middle Kingdom has been guided by a China strategy document released in 2016. That strategy was informed by wide stakeholder consultation and builds on Nova Scotia’s key competitive advantages. Significantly, Nova Scotia and Guangdong province signed a twinning agreement last year, and Premier McNeil will be meeting not with central officials in Beijing, but with provincial officials in Guangdong. Nova Scotia’s China engagement strategy is selective and pragmatic and could offer a useful blueprint for other provinces.
- Canada China Business Council: Canada-China Business Survey 2018/2019: Summary
- The Globe and Mail: China ignores overtures from Ottawa amid Huawei dispute
- Government of Nova Scotia: Partnering for success: The Nova Scotia-China engagement strategy