As China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy” has strained Sino-Canadian relations in recent years, there is a growing sentiment in Canada that it’s time to rethink Canada’s relations with China and look for better trade partners.
“We should continue to trade, but we should avoid strategic vulnerabilities in our supply chains and our economies more broadly,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a recent speech at the Brookings Institute.
China is Canada’s third-biggest trade partner, and B.C.’s second largest. It’s a significant market for Canadian commodities, and since the 1990s, Canadian resource companies have benefited from $78 billion in direct foreign investment from China.
“While the idea of pulling back trade with China is often-discussed in expert circles, China’s rapid growth, massive consumption of commodities and integration in the global supply chain make it exceedingly difficult for Canada to ‘turn off the taps,’” the University of Alberta’s China Institute noted in a 2021 report.