To be fair, it could be said that the conclusion of an investment promotion and protection agreement is much less complicated than establishing more open trade relations with the CPP. This is certainly a defensible position. Ottawa`s negotiating teams should address the issue of „labour standards” if they follow a path of trade liberalization with China. Correcting gaps in „work management” practices is a huge problem that would be difficult to overcome. For example, China has about 30 Special Economic Zones (SEZ), which employ about 13 million workers. In general, working conditions are unpleasant. In addition, many rural and remote areas of farmers migrate to these areas each year in search of work. This stray army of unemployed farmers unwittingly strengthens the bargaining position of employers and has a depressing effect on wages, health and safety standards. Although Canada does not operate SEZ (better known as export processing zones[CPE]), it does have experience negotiating trade agreements with countries that do.
The perfect example is Mexico (which uses the term maquiladoras instead of CPE) and has a similar history of worker exploitation and poor working conditions. While China`s growing demand for agriculture and food has benefited Canada`s agricultural sectors, Canadian exporters continue to face a number of significant barriers to trade growth. Similarly, China`s domestic food self-sufficiency policy and its programmes to promote and protect local agriculture continue to limit the competitiveness of imported agricultural products and limit domestic demand for imported products. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers also limit the range of products that can be exported to that country and increase both risk and uncertainty for exporters. „If you`re dealing with a country like China, state-owned enterprises, without the same commitment to the rule of law, all sorts of things like non-tariff barriers, I don`t think we`re ready to do that,” Scheer said at a question-and-answer session in mid-March. Edward Greenspon, co-chair of the Public Policy Forum, told Global News after the signing of the new USMCA agreement that trade with China was an obvious and available way to achieve this goal. Under Article 32 of the agreement, all signatories must inform each other when undertaking free trade negotiations with a „non-market” economy, which is interpreted as referring to China. For this reason, each party has the right to terminate the contract.
2017: Chinese President Xi Jinping intensifies a campaign to „re-educate” Uighurs, an ethnic group in the Xinjiang region, most of whom are Muslims. Alarming reports of indoctrination and forced labour camps that are the subject of international opinion against Beijing and its signed commercial projects and infrastructure, such as the Belt and Road initiative. Canada is helping to organize diplomatic efforts to blame China in an official letter, much to Beijing`s chagrin.