Canada Must Protect Trade Ties With China, Farm Group Says

(Bloomberg) -- One of Canada’s leading farm groups said the country must maintain its trading relationship with China amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

“It’s our expectation that they do act tactfully in a way that enables Canadian prosperity, and in our sector, that means trading with China,’’ Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, said by phone Thursday. “What we need to do more of is have more rules-based trade, to have trade governed by rules that are more predictable, not to have trade disrupted.’’

Two Canadian nationals have been detained in China this week, days after the arrest in Vancouver of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive, part of a U.S. extradition request. Canada’s government is facing a new level of pressure related to trade tension between China and the U.S., and shouldn’t add to any “political theater,” Innes said.

CAFTA represents exporters of goods such as canola, soybeans and meat. Canada’s shipments of farm products and natural resources made up more than half of its C$21.8 billion ($16.3 billion) of shipments to China last year. So far members haven’t reported any new trade restrictions from China, and CAFTA isn’t warning people to avoid travel there, Innes said.

“Uncertainty will be caused by politics, but the need to eat isn’t affected by politics,’’ he said.

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