Saturday, March 25, 2017
Free trade future with China? [with who!]
Baird sells Canada out
Baird said the Canada-China foreign investment protection and promotion agreement was a step in the right direction and he did not rule out the idea of eventually signing a free trade agreement with China.
"I think we were pleasantly surprised by China's interest in looking at a potential free trade agreement with Canada and that's something we've been reflecting on since then over the past year," he said. "We don't have a trade agreement with an economy like China's at this point but there's obviously a lot of interest at looking what we can do to work with China on increased trade both ways."
Baird said that Canadian values, including human rights and rule of law, are not being left behind when pursuing economic ties with China and that the government is striking a good balance between the two. He and his cabinet colleagues are able to have "respectful dialogue" with their Chinese counterparts on these issues, he said.
In an interview after his talk Baird said he applauds China for backing the latest round of United Nations sanctions against North Korea, a country that must be isolated until its leaders in Pyongyang see the world is serious he said.
Tension on the Korean peninsula has been rising since North Korea launched a nuclear test last month and now its leader Kim Jung-un is talking about launching a pre-emptive attack on the United States and South Korea.
"In recent years certainly North Korea has gone beyond rhetoric. They've sunk a South Korean vessel, bombed a South Korean island, so when we hear this type of rhetoric, when we see the type of provocative actions they've taken, I think civilized people everywhere are deeply concerned," he said.
Baird said the sanctions should send a message to Pyongyang and that Canada will continue to work with its allies on the developing situation.
Baird had little to say about comments by former prime minister Jean Chretien that Canada has lost its international stature since Stephen Harper and the Conservatives took power.
"Obviously there'll be political differences, I wouldn't have expected him to come out and endorse Canada's foreign policy or any policies of this government," said Baird. "I'm not going to get in a fight with Mr.Chretien.