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Canada looking to China 'with our eyes wide open,' says ambassador John McCallum

Canada looking to China 'with our eyes wide open,' says ambassador John McCallum
From CBC - September 23, 2017

Canada's ambassador to China says the Liberal government is still makingits list of pros and cons about launching formal talks around a free trade deal with the global superpower, including the potential public fallout.

"It's in our genes, if you will, to do free trade agreements, but there are concerns. There are some industries which would not be happy. There are some groups of Canadians who would not favour such an agreement," John McCallum told CBC Radio's The House.

"There's a question of whether the public can be persuaded that this is a good idea. So there are certainly pros and cons."

But the former immigration minister-turned-diplomat would not say whether he believes the positives outweigh the negatives.

"Well, I am not going to say that. I am working for the government. I am part of the discussions leading up to a decision. What I am saying is there's a strong case for, but there are also arguments against," he said.

'China's preference would be to do a simple free trade agreement' - John McCallum, Canadian ambassador to China

It will be up to cabinetto decide whether or not to start negotiating a free trade deal with China and McCallum said "we are talking more than weeks" on a decision.

Officials from both countries have held several meetings since exploratory talks were formally launched earlier this year.

McCallum said the two countries are getting along "extremely well" so far.

"It's all cylinders firing in terms of moving ahead on many fronts with China because it's really good for Canadian jobs," he said. "We want to pursue stronger ties with China but with our eyes wide open. We understand there are issues there."

Two countries, two priorities

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