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Leveraging Economic Advantage
Prime Minister Harper and his trade entourage is on its way to China to drum up some more business for Canadian companies looking for access to potentially lucrative Chinese markets. Nobody should be under any illusion that the contracts struck will represent an even-playing field all round. China is in an enviable position of sitting on great mounds of American securities or IOUs it would like to deploy outside the country while continuing to expand internally. So how does it reconcile both sides of the equation: internal and external expansion? To those of us who quail at the notion that economically mighty China is simply exploiting our natural resources, think again. Without markets for bitumen and raw logs in China, our economy would be sunk. Part of that deal with the Chinese is that they are given a chance to invest in the Canadian market in things like real estate, corporate ownership and resource development. We forget too quickly that China has the money to buy while Canada has the resources to sell. The real problem for Canadians is that Chinese investors, by establishing equity in Canadian companies, are coming into our country to take greater control over their resources at the point of extraction, especially oil and minerals. Unfortunately, under the new reality of global trade, Canada, the proverbial hewer of wood and drawer of water, can do nothing to stop it.