Targeted trade, parallel paths, and a look at China — a LIVE! with Carlo Dade and Sharon Zhengyang Sun


It’s time for another episode of RealAg LIVE! Host Shaun Haney has two exciting guests on today’s show: Carlo Dade, director of the Trade and Investment Centre at Canada West Foundation (CWF), and Sharon Zhengyang Sun, trade policy economist with CWF.

RealAg hosts a LIVE! Q&A on a timely topic each weekday on social media at 1 pm M/3 pm E!


  • Sun’s focus with CWF is on trade and trade infrastructure with China, going into her third year with the company, following a Ph D on the subject
  • China is Canada’s second largest trade partner. It’s safe to to say we all know there has been some struggles there. How can we resolve, or mitigate these struggles?
  • Use, abuse, or misuse of trade roles to harm the flow of goods, is what Dade is looking at.
  • We are dependent on the U.S. They are being openly against China.
  • Dade says we’ve been shivved by the U.S.
  • It’s time to rethink the importance of the relationship. CWF is looking at how we can do this through qualitative analysis.
  • Sun has done a lot of research looking at countries like Canada as far as the trade volumes go. Brazil, New Zealand, Australia. Similar growth trends, and markets with soybean and canola oil.
  • When times are bad, we do see that it impacts our trade. But what we see is very narrow and targeted trade. What’s not talked out: the continuous growth in exports of peas and wheat. We can’t just walk away from China and we can’t just disengage
  • It’s important to state that this growth didn’t just happen — there was a lot of work done to get us here.
  • Trump presidency has put Canada in the middle. Politics is a huge part of trade.
  • We have to push back on political issues, but it’s still important to acknowledge what’s been done right.
  • Is the reaction from China a PR stunt? Sometimes we take it too much at face value.
  • We still have no resolution on softwood lumber and other products…why not? The list goes on and on, and we need to keep pushing.
  • There needs to be engagement at ALL levels. Specifically at the multilateral level where Canada can participate with its allies. The industry needs to be there. We see that in our allies that are also our competitors, e.g. Australia.
  • Not engaging will not resolve anything for trade, or for our hostages that are there.
  • Do we need more boots on the ground? When compared to Australia, we are way, way behind with people in China working to get these issues solved.
  • For every one Australian representative that is there, there needs to be a Canadian rep. We need to up our game.
  • U.S. has a Phase 1 deal… commodity prices are high, but they still need to be able to physically move the crops. Will that happen? Maybe.
  • China has so many days to act when the U.S. sends it information; if it doesn’t comply with that, the U.S. will send China a list of firms that are allowed to ship beef, for example. This is not a trade agreement, this is a contract. Can we get something similar in Canada? Market access security?
  • We will never have a perfect relationship with a powerful economic country like China. Are we trying to live in a Utopia-type world?
  • How do we make our government recognize that we need more boots on the ground in China? Industry has to be more on the ground too. More producer associations. It’s not just about turning to the government. It’s got to be a joint effort with joint resources.
  • Should we open trade negotiations? Do we do it multilaterally, or bilaterally, like the U.S.? Multilaterally can take much longer. However, it may produce more longevity.
  • We shouldn’t undermine the WTO, however, we have to keep Canadian interests in mind as well. Is there a way to do both?
  • A lot of our issues with China can be solved in parallel paths. Does a Biden presidency give Canada new confidence? Maybe good to have fresh faces to work with.
  • If you are interested in the report from CWF, click here.

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