On November 17, 2014, the governments of Australia and the People’s Republic of China signed a declaration of intent on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), bringing to a close 24 rounds of negotiations conducted over 10 years. While text of the ChAFTA is not public pending legal review and translation, official announcements make clear that China has granted Australia surprisingly broad access to both its goods and its developing services markets. There are important lessons for Canada as a result.
Canada, like Australia, has a developed economy with an abundance of natural resources (The service sectors of both countries are around 70 percent of GDP. Sources: The World Bank and Statistics Canada). While there are important differences between Canada and Australia (e.g., proximity to China) the ChAFTA contains important lessons for Canada as it pursues deepened trading relationships in Asia and China in particular. The message for Canada in the ChAFTA is clear: Canada is falling behind in securing market access for goods, services, and investment in China. (more…)