CanCham Statement To All Canadians Doing Business with China in 2020
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (CanCham) wishes to address its members, the Canadian community living in Shanghai, and all Canadian companies and organizations conducting business with China, regarding challenges that have arisen in recent months.
Towards Warming Diplomatic Relations Between China and Canada
Most of us have followed the events of the past year which have led to the deterioration of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. This ongoing diplomatic situation started in December 2018 with the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada, followed by the detention of two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, a few days later in China. The overall business environment further deteriorated when the current trade war between the United States and China escalated.
Some of you may already have experienced, directly or indirectly, a loss of momentum in your ongoing business or projects in China which may be linked with these challenging times. CanCham has received information regarding a few projects which have been slowed down, postponed, or even cancelled. That being said, some of our members in China have reported that their businesses are experiencing positive growth, while others have not been affected at all.
Since January, a Special Parliamentary Committee on Canada-China Relations (CACN) has been mandated with examining all aspects of the Canada-China relationship and formulating recommendations to resolve the prolonged diplomatic crisis. Mr. Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China, was among the first officials to appear in front of the committee on Wednesday, February 5, who advocated for the restoration of a constructive dialogue and the need for a long-term approach. He recommended increasing Canadian trade and investments in China as a way to ease bilateral tensions and restore confidence between the two countries.
CanCham Shanghai shares the Ambassador’s view that restoring good relations with China is essential to Canada’s economic future. Canadian know-how and quality products are, of course, well known throughout the world and sought after by many countries. Clearly, with the rapid growth of its middle class and its domestic consumption, China remains among the world’s biggest and fastest growing markets. Many Canadian manufacturers, farmers, service providers, etc. depend, to a great extent, on the global trade ties they have built. It is, therefore, our belief that relations with China cannot be ignored or neglected as a result of the existing diplomatic tensions, but rather considered within a timeline that envisions trade with China as part of our future.
We encourage all members of the Canadian business community with ties to China to relay this important message to their local MPs. As Executive Director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, I am personally willing to work with the special Committee on your behalf to ensure that your interests are brought to the attention of its members.
Furthermore, we are confident that Canada’s recent efforts to support China in its battle against the COVID-19 outbreak will help re-establish a constructive dialogue between the governments of Canada and China.
CanCham is working with the Canadian community in Shanghai to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (CanCham Shanghai) is fully mobilized in the face of the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the COVID-19 virus. The safety of Canadian communities living in China is our utmost priority and we are doing everything we can to support you in these difficult times.
We are closely monitoring the situation and liaising with government services and specialized international agencies to gather reliable information and provide our members and the Canadian business communities with regular situation updates and official recommendations in order to prevent and control the spread of the virus.
Our staff remains mobilized throughout these difficult times to support members of the Canadian business communities and provide advice on how to mitigate the impact of the virus outbreak situation on their businesses while ensuring the safety of those involved.
In these moments of uncertainty, CanCham wishes to reaffirm that China remains an absolutely essential place of business for Canadians. CanCham is a member-based organization that supports the business needs of its members and contributes to the Canadian community in Shanghai and in China in a variety of ways, promoting the value of our members’ brands and the positive perception of Canada as a brand. Business, networking and social events will be organized to create opportunities to revive existing relationships and establish new relationships and trust which will lead to future success.
In all challenging times, it is important to remember that success can depend on remaining ready at all times, working together and staying the course. Canadians are an industrious, well-educated and creative people, known for their sense of decency and their “joie-de-vivre.” CanCham believes that it is in the best interests of Canadians to continue to promote our values while maintaining harmony with our Chinese business partners, consumers and friends who are, themselves, so fond of Canadian products and services.
We can take advantage of this difficult period by using it to remind our Chinese partners and other stakeholders that our main values remain: openness and respect for the law. We hope that the great city of Shanghai and all of China will remain a remarkable environment for doing business and a place where our communities will thrive.
It is our pleasure to continue offering our support.
Executive Director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai
Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing West Road,
West Tower, Office 705, Jing’an, Shanghai
CanCham Shanghai is the pre-eminent member driven organization supporting Canadian business and the Canadian community in Shanghai. CanCham informs and promotes Canadian interests in Eastern China and fosters connections within the Canadian business community and with its Chinese counterparts. We are presently made up of 120 active corporate members and more than 750 individuals members.