As a farmer or rancher, how do you feel about trade with China? China has proposed a new five-year plan title “Insights for Western Canadian Trade.”
Our guests today, both from Canada West Foundation, are Carlo Dade and Sharon Sun. They join our host Shaun Haney to talk about everything trade-related with China.
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- A different kind of five-year plan; a modern reincarnation of national planning documents
- No hard production targets; instead China’s saying they’ll target sectors
- For reference, 135 developing countries have national plans
- The five-year plan is an item on its own for China, but is inter-related to the Belt and Road initiative
- What are the components of China’s plan? It’s a major shift from the previous plan. Middle income trap. Innovation and efficiency are key.
- Belt and Road Initiative? Proposed by China to further integrate the region in terms of infrastructure development and trade. Has evolved tremendously over the last five to 10 years expanding from infrastructure investment into the “Digital Silk Road” or “Arctic Silk Road”
- Agricultural import from its regional neighbours instead of from other countries
- Huge implications for movement of goods around the globe. Kazakhstan for inland ports, for example
- Abandoned projects: a naturally occurring by-product. There are failures and successes
- The most frustrating thing? China refuses to learn mistakes from the U.S.’s previous projects. E.g. letting political considerations override
- “Bridge to Nowhere”
- Impacts on agricultural trade: peas, wheat, canola, pork, beef. China can’t be ignored
- Key new thing: China has changed from an export-oriented economy to expanding domestic consumption. Negative for Canada: China will increase self-sufficiency in production and purchasing less from Canada. China won’t be able to produce everything to meet its population’s demand which means opportunities to grow in traditional areas
- Have to consider competitors too. U.S.-China Phase One agreement. Increased competition in soybeans and/or wheat. But also diversification, for example canola
- Ag technology is a major focus in the plan, too
- China was one of the first to recover from COVID-19, was able to reach ridiculous commitments
- All-time low for bilateral relationships
- It’s not just export stats that are up, it’s imports into Canada too
- We might say we don’t like China, but we still go to Costco; we don’t have the same boycotting discipline as China does for companies they have trade issues with (H & M, Nike, the NBA)
- Our allies in agricultural trade are still signing agreements with China; furthermore, competitors are taking our lunch
- One way Canada can combat this is by exporting plant-proteins, value-added; same with canola
- Need to get out of the dependency pathway of traditional exports
- Canada West Foundation is hosting a symposium next week; deep dive for agriculture May 11. You can find info here.