Friday, 16 May 2014

Jean Charest critical of Canada-China deal delays

Jean Charest

Jean Charest says the federal government’s foot-dragging on pushing trade with China is sending the country the wrong signal.

Canada has yet to ratify a trade agreement with China more than two years after it was signed.
It took both countries 18 years to negotiate a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. That deal has to be ratified by cabinet before taking effect, something that has yet to happen.
In an interview with Evan Solomon on CBC Radio’s The House, Quebec’s former premier said that’s a problem.

“What we hear between the lines is that there may be some concerns about dealing with China because of concerns because of human rights issues, because of other issues. But if that was the case, you’d think that would have been taken into consideration before you negotiate the agreement,” Charest said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, pose with a giant panda at the Chongqing Zoo in February 2012. An agreement on investment promotion and protection was signed on that visit, but has yet to be ratified. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

CBC News has reported that there are tensions within Stephen Harper’s cabinet about how to handle the relationship with China, and that has slowed down the process.

There’s also an ongoing court challenge by the Hupacasath First Nation to stay the Canada-China investment treaty until First Nations have been consulted.
But according to Charest, the wait has become problematic.

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