Make trade with China a priority – by Don Lindsay (Financial Post – August 26, 2016)

Don Lindsay is President & CEO, Teck.

The upcoming G20 summit in China and week-long visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are shining a light on Canada and China’s economic ties at a pivotal time for both our countries. Recent negative economic headlines aside, China remains a key trading partner and Canada’s prosperity now – and in the years ahead – continues to be closely tied with theirs.

But in order to move the Canada-China relationship forward in a way that supports Canada’s long-term prosperity, it is critical that we imbue our trade discussions with a sense of purpose and momentum. Our new government needs to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties with China.

China remains Canada’s most important trading partner next to the United States, yet we continue to struggle with how to best cultivate and grow this partnership. China is both the top overseas destination for our exports and the largest overseas source of imports to Canada.

It is the most important non-U.S. destination for our lumber, minerals and agricultural products and, by extension, vital to the more than 800,000 people working in those sectors. For Teck – which directly employs about 8,000 people at operations and projects across Canada – China is the most important growth market for the copper, zinc and steelmaking coal we produce.

While the pace of growth in China has slowed somewhat, it is still massive in scale. The Chinese government released its 13th five-year plan in March, covering 2016-2020. The plan emphasized continued growth – reaffirming China’s target to double GDP and people’s incomes by 2020 from 2010 figures.

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