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China and Canada, Freedom Foes or Trade Friends


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The protests in Hong Kong show no signs of letting up. In fact there are now hundreds of thousands of protestors (umbrella protest) showing their demand for free elections. To this point, there has been no real violence but it is feared that Chinese tanks will soon be moving in.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/09/30/hong-kong-protests/16473507/

The Harper government is just in the process of ratifying a trade deal.

If this protest leads to a suppression and violence in Hong Kong should Canada then suspend trade relations and renege on the deal.

Edited by Big Guy
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If this protest leads to a suppression and violence in Hong Kong should Canada then suspend trade relations and renege on the deal.

Quite the opposite, we should encourage further trade and Westernization of Red China through even more trade agreements, cultural/student exchange etc………soft power such as this can work, as it did for Reagan over 25 years ago……Ultimately a regression of relations will only effect the populace and not the people of the ChiCom Politburo……..

Culturally, the Chinese psyche takes a far broader & longer term view, when compared to us in the West, with such things…….all that is needed from us is the continuance of our own cultural expansion into the remaining vacuums on this planet of personal/religious/economic/political freedom.

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Quite the opposite, we should encourage further trade and Westernization of Red China through even more trade agreements, cultural/student exchange etc………soft power such as this can work, as it did for Reagan over 25 years ago……Ultimately a regression of relations will only effect the populace and not the people of the ChiCom Politburo……..

Culturally, the Chinese psyche takes a far broader & longer term view, when compared to us in the West, with such things…….all that is needed from us is the continuance of our own cultural expansion into the remaining vacuums on this planet of personal/religious/economic/political freedom.

How could Harper rationalize trade sanctions against Russia and no action against China?

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How could Harper rationalize trade sanctions against Russia and no action against China?

Russia and China are apples and oranges……sanctions placed against Russia, were limited (at best) and targeted more so towards banking and other assets controlled by the oligarchy. Also, the actual levels of trade between Canada and Russia are non-existent when compared to Canada-China.

Now I have a question for you:

How do you rationalize inaction in the affairs of Middle Eastern nations, but purpose sticking our collective thumb in the eye of China?

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How could Harper rationalize trade sanctions against Russia and no action against China?

Simple In Ukraine, Russia is acting as a foreign agressor against a sovereign nation recognised by both Russia, and Canada. Hong Kong is a semi autonomous region that's part of China's territory, and China's do what they want within their borders. Its also important to note that so far all of anti-demonstrator action is by the HK police and mainland China has not actually put any troops or police there (although they're likely working behind the scenes).

Also Canada's got much deeper trade connections with China, than with Russia. The Action taken by Canada against russia was largely symbolic and of no major consequence. With actions against China there would be major consequenses.

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China is both. It's not an either or.

Regardless, I always find it funny when the same types that are against the Cuban embargo are proponents of not trading with China. These are also the same types that insist we should stop trying to impose our values on others. I wish they'd make up their minds.

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China is both. It's not an either or.

Regardless, I always find it funny when the same types that are against the Cuban embargo are proponents of not trading with China. These are also the same types that insist we should stop trying to impose our values on others. I wish they'd make up their minds.

They wish you could see in shades other than black and white. You don't leave a favourable impression of your intellectual capacity when you need complex issues boiled down into binary.
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They wish you could see in shades other than black and white. You don't leave a favourable impression of your intellectual capacity when you need complex issues boiled down into binary.

I just said China is both, ie not binary.

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I've often thought the west should collectively stop trading with China until China starts to recognize human rights or democratizes.

That would of course raise the cost of goods in the west, but it's possible that the principle itself is worth it, and the west is still capable of manufacturing and producing, things would just be a little more expensive, and probably somewhat better quality. Domestic workers would love this I'm sure.

On the other hand what Derek 2.0 says is also probably true - perhaps the best way to bring China around is to simply allow their continued prosperity and continued opening of relations with the world. With more influence, more wealth and more education and awareness, it may only be a matter of time before the Chinese people demand change in their entirely nepotism-based, totally corrupt political system. Closing them off may simply impoverish hundreds of millions without producing much political change, just as that didn't really work with NKorea or Saddam.

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Russia and China are apples and oranges……sanctions placed against Russia, were limited (at best) and targeted more so towards banking and other assets controlled by the oligarchy. Also, the actual levels of trade between Canada and Russia are non-existent when compared to Canada-China.

Now I have a question for you:

How do you rationalize inaction in the affairs of Middle Eastern nations, but purpose sticking our collective thumb in the eye of China?

I do not propose sticking our collective thumb in the eye of China. I am still wondering why Canada applied those silly sanctions on Russia. It is effecting our beef cattle industry detrimentally. My position is that we should stay out of that civil war also.

My position is stay out of all civil wars, those in Europe and those in the Middle East.

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I do not propose sticking our collective thumb in the eye of China. I am still wondering why Canada applied those silly sanctions on Russia. It is effecting our beef cattle industry detrimentally. My position is that we should stay out of that civil war also.

My position is stay out of all civil wars, those in Europe and those in the Middle East.

From your OP:

If this protest leads to a suppression and violence in Hong Kong should Canada then suspend trade relations and renege on the deal.

A rhetorical question that you don’t favour? If so, Mea culpa....

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On the other hand what Derek 2.0 says is also probably true - perhaps the best way to bring China around is to simply allow their continued prosperity and continued opening of relations with the world. With more influence, more wealth and more education and awareness, it may only be a matter of time before the Chinese people demand change in their entirely nepotism-based, totally corrupt political system. Closing them off may simply impoverish hundreds of millions without producing much political change, just as that didn't really work with NKorea or Saddam.

We (as in the West) are at a crossroads with Red China, much like after the death of Mao and the start of a market based economy or further back the split in Soviet-Sino relations. Alienating China now will only strengthen the hardliners in the Chinese Communist Party and Peoples Liberation Army (which controls a great deal of the Chinese manufacturing capacity), and lead to at best another Cold War (with a country with greater economical prowess then the Soviet Union), or at worse, a third World War.

Perspective must be taken……..Hong Kong student protests, and to date the response from the Government, has been no different than protests in the West like Occupy or at a G8/20 summit……the only major difference to date…….the Chinese students clean-up after themselves.

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Alienating China now will only strengthen the hardliners in the Chinese Communist Party and Peoples Liberation Army (which controls a great deal of the Chinese manufacturing capacity), and lead to at best another Cold War (with a country with greater economical prowess then the Soviet Union), or at worse, a third World War.

The democracy protests are an internal matter within China and can probably be ignored. The bigger problem is China's obsession with annexing territory claimed by its neighbors. If China keeps grabbing territory it will eventually put the west in the position where war is an unavoidable outcome. Edited by TimG
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The democracy protests are an internal matter within China and can probably be ignored. The bigger problem is China's obsession with annexing territory claimed by its neighbors. If China keeps grabbing territory it will eventually put the west in the position where war is an unavoidable outcome.

I agree, but then again, the nationalistic zealots in China lay squarely in the hardline camp…

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How do you rationalize inaction in the affairs of Middle Eastern nations, but purpose sticking our collective thumb in the eye of China?

I just dont see refusing to patronize an entity you dissaprove of as sticking your thumb in their eye.

I wouldnt halt trade with China... but I would make it conditional on political reforms, labor reforms, and environmental reforms... over time.

Its also important to see the huge ammount of trade the west does with China for what it is.... The temporary results of a currency inbalance, and Chinas well documented currency manipulation schemes. Their government prints zillions of nmibi and uses them to buy western treasuries... that keeps the nmibi undervalued by approximate 30% which gives chinese producers an advantage over canadian producers by roughly the same ammount.

Its extremely stupid to buy goods at par from an entity that is blatantly price fixing. We should be putting a tarrif on all Chinese goods that matches their currency manipulation scheme otherwise we are just destroying our own producers on purpose.

Edited by dre
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I wouldnt halt trade with China... but I would make it conditional on political reforms, labor reforms, and environmental reforms... over time.

And when the Chinese tell you to stick your conditions in your ear.........then what?

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I just dont see refusing to patronize an entity you dissaprove of as sticking your thumb in their eye.

I wouldnt halt trade with China... but I would make it conditional on political reforms, labor reforms, and environmental reforms... over time.

Its also important to see the huge ammount of trade the west does with China for what it is.... The temporary results of a currency inbalance, and Chinas well documented currency manipulation schemes. Their government prints zillions of nmibi and uses them to buy western treasuries... that keeps the nmibi undervalued by approximate 30% which gives chinese producers an advantage over canadian producers by roughly the same ammount.

Its extremely stupid to buy goods at par from an entity that is blatantly price fixing. We should be putting a tarrif on all Chinese goods that matches their currency manipulation scheme otherwise we are just destroying our own producers on purpose.

Agreed mostly, and also I would add that the 30% results in a 30% decreased purchasing power (standard of living decrease) for the average Chinese compared to what it should be.

I don't agree with the tariffs however. Even when another country is imposing tariffs or manipulating things, it's not helpful to impose your own. All you wind up doing is taking money out of some peoples pockets (the people who have to pay more for Chinese goods due to the tariffs) and giving it to other people (those working in industries benefiting by hindering the Chinese competitor with tariffs). It's not like you're taking money from the Chinese and giving it to Canadians. Enforcement of the system requires a bureaucracy and regulatory regime which a cost, and so it's a net loss.

You can't control what another country does very easily. If they introduce inefficiencies in their system by government intervention, that results in more loss to drag in the economy. The solution is not to add your own drag, you just end up with twice the drag. The best solution is to simply let your economy adapt to the interventions in the foreign economy. You do not lose by doing this, you simply shift the balance of your economy towards what is most efficient in that environment. Some jobs will be lost, and others gained, just as it always goes.

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Agreed mostly, and also I would add that the 30% results in a 30% decreased purchasing power (standard of living decrease) for the average Chinese compared to what it should be.

I don't agree with the tariffs however. Even when another country is imposing tariffs or manipulating things, it's not helpful to impose your own. All you wind up doing is taking money out of some peoples pockets (the people who have to pay more for Chinese goods due to the tariffs) and giving it to other people (those working in industries benefiting by hindering the Chinese competitor with tariffs). It's not like you're taking money from the Chinese and giving it to Canadians. Enforcement of the system requires a bureaucracy and regulatory regime which a cost, and so it's a net loss.

You can't control what another country does very easily. If they introduce inefficiencies in their system by government intervention, that results in more loss to drag in the economy. The solution is not to add your own drag, you just end up with twice the drag. The best solution is to simply let your economy adapt to the interventions in the foreign economy. You do not lose by doing this, you simply shift the balance of your economy towards what is most efficient in that environment. Some jobs will be lost, and others gained, just as it always goes.

I agree that imposing tariffs is not helpful but neither is allowing another country unlimited access to your markets while it intentionally puts up obstacles to yours. Free trade has to be free at both ends or it ain't free trade.

As far as a trade embargo goes, I think we have become too dependent on Chinese goods to go that route. We have shifted production of too many necessary items to China. We have sold our economic independence for cheap stuff.

Edited by Wilber
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And when the Chinese tell you to stick your conditions in your ear.........then what?

Then we adopt a disposition away from doing less business with China and more business with others. We have about a 30 billion dollar trade defecit with China, that in the long term we would be better off without anyways.

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I agree that imposing tariffs is not helpful but neither is allowing another country unlimited access to your markets while it intentionally puts up obstacles to yours. Free trade has to be free at both ends or it ain't free trade.

As far as a trade embargo goes, I think we have become too dependent on Chinese goods to go that route. We have shifted production of too many necessary items to China. We have sold our economic independence for cheap stuff.

This a misunderstanding that does not see the picture of the world economy as a whole. Everyone is not supposed to build everything. Just as centuries ago, people started specializing and this produces enormous increases in efficiency and dramatically lowers the cost of goods, countries do not all have exactly equal, exactly balanced economies, nor should they.

It is true that any new barrier to free trade by either side does indeed make it less free. It is however untrue that reacting to barriers with your own barriers is warranted or in any way useful. You do not protect or support your economy in any way by doing so. You only add increased drag.

When an unequal regulatory system exists between countries, the best response is to simply let your economy adapt. You don't lose anything by doing this, the balance of your economy just shifts. Allowing access of foreign companies to your markets does not only have a cost (less business for local competitors), it also has a benefit (low cost of goods for your citizens). The fact that there is a cost, does not mean the benefit just dematerializes from reality. In the end it is a wash, except that to enforce your barriers, there is a bureaucratic cost, meaning a net loss in the end.

Edited by hitops
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This a misunderstanding that does not see the picture of the world economy as a whole. Everyone is not supposed to build everything. Just as centuries ago, people started specializing and this produces enormous increases in efficiency and dramatically lowers the cost of goods, countries do not all have exactly equal, exactly balanced economies, nor should they.

It is true that any new barrier to free trade by either side does indeed make it less free. It is however untrue that reacting to barriers with your own barriers is warranted or in any way useful or warranted. You do not protect or support your economy in any way by doing so.

When an equal regulatory system exists between countries, the best response is to simply let your economy adapt. You don't lose anything by doing this, the balance of your economy just shifts. Allowing access of foreign companies access to your markets does not only have a cost (less business for local competitors), it also has a benefit (low cost of goods for your citizens). The fact that there is a cost, does not mean the benefit dispersal from reality. In the end it is a wash, except that to enforce your barriers, there is a bureaucratic cost, meaning a net loss in the end.

Countering trade barriers with other trade barriers may or may not be the way to go but trying to gain dominance in a particular market by keeping foreign products out is a well used tactic. You can't ask your business to adapt to a continually moving target that is expressly designed to keep them out.

I agree that everyone is not supposed to build everything, indeed there are few countries that are capable of doing so.. However, governments do have the right and indeed the duty to protect their country's business' from the predatory practices of others.

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