Submission by United Steelworkers to Global Affairs Canada Consultations on a Possible Canada-China Free Trade Agreement

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We commend Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for initiating these consultations as it examines whether Canada should initiate negotiations with China towards a free trade agreement (FTA). This is a welcome change from recent trade and investment agreements negotiated on Canada’s behalf, such as the FIPA, CETA and TPP, which were noteworthy for their secrecy and lack of public consultation. We hope that the government will continue to consult Canadians, including trade unions, First Nations, and other civil society groups as it develops and pursues this and other policy initiatives.

That said, the USW emphatically asserts that it is not currently in Canada’s interest pursue a free trade agreement with China. We acknowledge that in recent years China has demonstrated a willingness work with other countries to pursue a variety of bilateral trade and investment treaties. However, in our view, China’s interest in furthering trade with Canada does not spring from a desire to adhere to the rules-based regimes which Canada has played such an important role in establishing and maintaining. Rather, China’s pursuit of free trade agreements stems from an aggressive trade policy and an overall desire to become a global trading leader.

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