Business Expected to Boom if Canada-China Free Trade Agreement Moves Ahead, According to APF Canada Poll

Vancouver, B.C. – July 24, 2012 – China ranks amongst the top priority countries for Canada to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), according to the results of the latest opinion panel published today by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada, A full 47% of Canadians with professional and business ties to Asia chose China as a priority FTA partner, well ahead of Japan at 16% and India at 15%.

Accelerating free trade agreement (FTA) talks with China was viewed as a priority with 66% stating that a Canada-China FTA would increase their level of business activity conducted in China.

"There is robust support from our panel of Asia practitioners for a Free Trade Agreement with China," said Yuen Pau Woo, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. "Indeed, China ranks the highest among trade partners which are currently in various stages of FTA talks with Canada."

The Points of View Asia Pacific opinion poll, sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways, is the first to survey Canadians who are engaged with Asia through professional and business interests on this issue. Nearly 90% agreed that China is the largest market in Asia and that it makes sense for Canada as a trading nation to build a special relationship with China. Some 74% believed that a Canada-China FTA could secure an early advantage for access to the Chinese market ahead of other countries seeking a similar deal with China.

However, 46% expressed concern that even with a Canada-China FTA, Canadian businesses would not be competing on a level playing field because the Chinese economic system is not based on market forces. The top three perceived barriers to Canada deepening its trade ties with China include: intellectual property rules (83%), weak dispute settlement mechanism (79%), and Chinese government regulations that discriminate against foreign companies (72%).

Despite these concerns, a solid majority of Canadians engaged in Asia viewed the Canada-China FTA as a practical and concrete way for Canada to take advantage of China’s increasing global economic importance. A full 76% agreed that one key benefit of a Canada-China FTA would be the ability to ensure Canadian goods not be excluded from the Chinese market due to the application of arbitrary and discriminatory technical rules and standards.

In 2011, Canada’s exports to China stood at C$16.8 billion, while imports from China grew to C$48.1 billion.

The full survey results on the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement, can be viewed here.

The Points of View Asia Pacific is an opinion panel of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada comprised of 1,200 individuals who are connected to or engaged in Asia through professional, research or personal interests. 85% of panelists have business or professional interests in Asia, and 67% have worked in Asia. Data was collected between June 19th and June 27th, 2012 with a total of 465 people completing all or part of the survey questionnaire, a 39% response rate. The margin of error for the total sample of 465 is ±4.5%, 19 times out of 20. For more information on the profile of Points of View Asia-Pacific panel members, click here.


About APF Canada

The Asia Pacific Foundation is an independent resource for Canadians on contemporary Asia and Canada-Asia relations. As a national not-for-profit organization established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1984, the Foundation brings together people and knowledge to provide the most current and comprehensive research, analysis and information on Asia and on Canada's transpacific relations. It promotes dialogue on economic, security, political and social issues, helping to inform public policy, the Canadian public and Canada’s Asia practitioners. The Foundation is funded principally through an endowment from the Government of Canada and by corporate and individual donors.

For additional information, please contact:

Trang Nguyen
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Tel: 604-630-1540

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