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Canada must look beyond China toward a broader Asian trade deal

  • Joshua Brown and Wayne Farmer
  • |
  • Apr 20, 2017
Canada must look beyond China toward a broader Asian trade deal

Joshua Brown is an EMBA candidate at the Ivey Business School. He is chief representative for Canada at Tractus Asia, an Asia-based business advisory firm, and Canada chair at the Canada ASEAN Business Council (CABC). Wayne Farmer, EMBA '00, is president of the CABC and managing partner of Islemount Capital, a financial and capital advisory firm.

In a Globe and Mail op-ed, Joshua Brown and Wayne Farmer argue against pursuing a trade agreement with China while so much is on the line for Canada with NAFTA renegotiations.

Instead, they recommend an alternative: ASEAN, the association of 10 Southeast Asian countries that together make up Canada’s sixth largest trading partner. This option opens Asian markets to greater investment and trade in goods and services with Canada.

"Focusing our limited resources on a more achievable, less politically-charged Canada-ASEAN FTA does not permanently forgo a Canadian interest in free trade with China," Brown and Farmer write. "In fact, ambitiously engaging with high-growth emerging markets in China’s sphere of political and economic influence serves to strengthen Canada’s bargaining position and should be viewed as part of a collective Asia strategy."