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Maple syrup and the auto industry, economic symbols threatened by the Canada-China crisis

Louis Blouin – Radio Canada

February 4, 2019

Canadian business people are anxious about the deterioration of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. If the crisis stretches, small and big players fear to suffer the repercussions. For some, the effects are already being felt. The Trudeau government encourages them to diversify their markets.

Some industries can already measure the impacts of the Canada-China dispute. An association representing Canadian auto parts manufacturers says an expansion project by Chinese automakers in Canada is pending because of the dispute. The fate of an investment of more than $ 1.5 billion in Canadian facilities is uncertain, according to Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA).

Chinese builders have reported that the project could be delayed for “months, even years,” he explains.

“[Chinese builders] take the whole ecosystem and the political environment very seriously and they are not ready to move forward.” Flavio Volpe, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA)

Like the separation of Church and State, Mr. Volpe says the separation between trade and politics must be maintained in the relationship with China.

The Sino-US tariff war does not help the Canadian auto industry either. “We depend on a stable relationship between China and the United States. This is not good for business, “says Volpe.

The automotive industry, the largest export sector in Canada, generates some $ 80 billion annually in economic activity.

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