U.S.: Canada's China trade policy weak

Aug. 24, 2011 at 12:50 PM

OTTAWA, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- A U.S. diplomatic note leaked Wednesday said Canada's business courtship of China in 2007 "resulted in no apparent deliverables," but good press.

The WikiLeaks Web site released some 5,000 diplomatic communications, among them some written by David Wilkins, who was the U.S. ambassador to Canada in 2007, the Globe and Mail reported.

Wilkins wrote of two trips Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and International Trade Minister David Emerson made in January 2007 to Beijing to expand trade.

"Excluding an agreement to cooperate on scientific research, the trips resulted in no apparent deliverables for Canada," Emerson's cable said. "However, they did serve to placate Canadian business leaders who had been concerned that the Canadian government was not paying enough attention to China."

Emerson's correspondence said the business junkets were "described by the [Canadian] press and government in positive terms," but were mostly symbolic to warm Canada's relations with Beijing.

Among China's grievances were that Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper warmly welcomed Tibet's Dalai Lama as a world leader twice and also chastised Beijing over its human rights record. Harper also declined to attend the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the report said.

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