It's not just about China, either, although the fact it is China certainly adds many concerns, specifically in the national security areas. The idea that corporations (not countries) can challenge and sue for laws passed by those people has been a part of free trade deals since their inception. People seem so focused on the fact we might be paying fines, everyone seems to be overlooking the mechanics of how such fines are paid and arbitrated as that aspect is truly the worse part. People must understand that 'China' is being used as an umbrella term only because these current concerns involve state-owned companies.
Typically, free trade deals give corporations the ability to challenge a country's laws, a province's laws, or even a city's laws if they feel it interferes with their profit. They take these complaints to unelected bodies which can then go ahead and decide what actions to take to force a country's hand. The fact the Chinese companies are state owned simply adds an additional layer to this affront to democracy in Canada which is that the Chinese state will have direct access to an unelected body which overrides all of the citizens and all of the governments in Canada. This isn't about China-phobia, it's about the fact that China, like us, can be expected to act in their own interest - just as we would, or want to but won't be able to.
Canadian Trends: There is no Canada, only Zuul
The national security issues bring a whole new extreme. CSIS has warned about security risks from China, do you think it's because they are China-phobic? Chinese espionage is rampant. China is not expanding it's assets simply to grow, China is growing it's assets to be self-sufficient for when the plug is finally pulled on the USD. Max Keiser reported yesterday that it's now been confirmed that despite China's massive number of gold mines: not a single bar has been put into the market! They are keeping all of it. China is only playing the capitalist game because strategically it services them to do so.
Another national security consideration is the fact that we are going to have to balance a tense relationship between China and the U.S. which is only going to become more-so as the Japan-China relationship also intensifies. Does it seem intelligent to essentially put our revenue dependence on the shoulders of two opposing massive economies? Both which require huge amounts of energy to keep their massive economies away from the verge of collapse they currently sit on?
Let's sit back and ask ourselves, again, why exactly we are pushing so fast for this new relationship? Well because the resources to extract the oilsands outweighs the resources Canadians have. We need China to counter-balance lost business from the U.S as we never actually did have the resources to extract them to scale. Trade like this with China is simply a worse solution to a bad decision in the first place.
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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading.