OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s dispute with China, an economic powerhouse, has been a nagging headache for Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the feud is showing no signs of going away before his October bid for re-election.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Tuesday warned that relations with China – which has a population 37 times that of Canada’s – continue to be “challenging,” dashing hopes that last week’s meeting with her Chinese counterpart would lead to a breakthrough in the eight-month stalemate.
Dispute - December - Canada - Detention - Huawei
The dispute broke out in December after Canada’s detention of Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant, and Beijing’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians. China has also blocked imports of some Canadian commodities.
The Canada-China dispute is a showdown between “a mouse and an elephant,” said Goldy Hyder, president and chief executive officer of the Business Council of Canada, which represents many of the country’s largest companies.
Scenes - Election - Draws - Risk - Response
“Whatever it is that’s been happening (behind the scenes), it hasn’t worked. And as the election draws near, there’s a greater risk that we’re going to be squeezed even harder and I don’t know what our response is going to be,” Hyder said.
Meanwhile, China’s blockade against canola, pork and beef is beginning to bite economically. Growers will have to find alternate buyers this year, and meat processors are starting to feel the pinch, industry groups say.
End - Dispute - Sight - Toll
With no end to the dispute in sight, there may be a political toll to pay, too.
On Friday, Freeland said the government will continue to negotiate with China outside of the public eye, a process that exposes the government to criticism from its Conservative Party rival.
Trudeau - Tie - Opinion - Polls - Leader
Trudeau is locked in a statistical tie in opinion polls with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer ahead of an Oct. 21 federal election, and Scheer has attacked him relentlessly for...
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