Canada Energy: China Deals Don't Worry U.S., Says Ambassador David Jacobson
MONTREAL - The U.S. ambassador to Canada says he's not worried about the impact of any energy agreements between Canada and China.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Asian country last week and signed several deals amid speculation of possible free-trade talks in the future between the two countries.
Ambassador David Jacobson said in Montreal on Thursday it's good for the United States when its largest trading partner increases its trade in new markets — particularly in Asia.
"If it's goods, there's going to be more U.S. content that's incorporated in those goods (and) if it's energy, there's going to be U.S. equipment used to extract that energy," he told reporters.
Jacobson added that trade is not a zero-sum game —"everybody wins."
"So, not only do I not view this as something that we should be worried about, but I view this as something that is, quite frankly, in the interests of the United States."
Jacobson pointed out there's plenty of oil in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada to export and he assumes markets will continue to be developed in Asia and around the world.
"But for the rest of my life and my children's lives and probably my grandchildren's lives, I expect that Canada and the United States will be each other's largest trading partners," he added.
In Toronto later in the day, Jacobson dismissed suggestions that encouraging the sale of oil to China while holding up plans for the Keystone pipeline may anger Canadians.
"Keystone has nothing to do with this,'' he said after a speech to Toronto's Board of Trade.
''The decision the president made a few weeks ago had nothing to with the viability of the pipeline, it had everything to do with the viability of the 60-day timeline.
''There isn't even a route for the Keystone pipeline yet, there won't be a route until probably September or October, and once they have that, TransCanada has indicated that they're going to refile their application, and we'll see what happens."
Back in Montreal, the ambassador said efforts to work out a perimeter security agreement between Canada and the United States continue to move forward.
He stressed that the upcoming U.S. presidential elections have not slowed that down.
"We're moving forward full-speed ahead," Jacobson said. "This is one of those things that I think Republicans and Democrats agree on.
"This is going to increase commerce, it's going to create jobs and it's going to make us safer at the same time."
Jacobson made his comments at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
He was there to highlight the new Nexus dedicated screening lane program which is now in effect at several airports cross Canada.
Nexus is a joint Canada-U.S. program that allows faster processing for pre-screened, approved travellers.
— With files from Romina Maurino in Toronto
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Here are a few details of the major investment deal coming soon between Canada and China, as well as a list of what CBC chief political correspondent Terry Milewski calls a "small blizzard of incremental agreements," signed in Beijing. <em>With files from CBC</em>. (Diego Azubel-PoolGetty Images)
The Big One: FIPA
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) between Canada and China the first "comprehensive economic agreement" between the two countries. In fact, what was signed by Harper and Chinese Premier Wen Jaibao in Beijing is not the final deal, but a declaration of intent: Now it must be legally reviewed and ratified by both governments, which for Canada will mean a debate in the House of Commons. Once both countries complete this process, it will need to be formally signed to take effect. This deal will protect Canadians investing in China, as well as Chinese investors in Canada, from "discriminatory and arbitrary practices." Once in place, investors can have more confidence that rules will be enforced and valuable business deals will be subject to predictable legal practices. Harper told reporters in Beijing he "absolutely" expected that it will make a "practical difference." "The agreement does not override existing Canadian law in regard to foreign investment and foreign investment review," Harper said. "Those laws remain in place." Negotiations for this agreement took 18 years, and key players in manufacturing, mining and the financial sectors were consulted to get to this stage. It's not unusual for Canada to have this kind of an agreement with a trading partner. FIPAs are in force with 24 other countries that trade with Canada, and active negotiations are underway with 10 other countries, according to the government's announcement. (Diego Azubel-PoolGetty Images)
The 'Blizzard' (By Sector):
(AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
- A new protocol, building on a 2010 agreement to restore Canada's market access to the Chinese market for Canadian beef following the 2003 BSE outbreak and resulting border closures, to allow industrial beef tallow (fat) to be imported for the first time in almost a decade. China used to be Canada's top export market for tallow ($31 million in 2002), and now Canada has a shot at a share of the $400 million in tallow China imports from around the world. - A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on canola research, to address a recent fungal disease in canola and rapeseed that threatens Canada's valuable trading relationship with China in canola. - On Tuesday, Chinese aquaculture feed company Tongwei announced it will increase its purchase of Canadian canola by up to $240 million per year by 2015. (DAVID BUSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
- A MOU between Natural Resources Canada and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to collaborate on scientific research on sustainable development of natural resources. The government release touts benefits including new technologies for resource firms, carbon emissions reduction strategies, reduced environmental impacts and natural hazards from resource development, and new opportunities for Canadian suppliers of equipment and services. - A MOU spelling out a "framework" for Parks Canada and China's state forestry administration to collaborate and share scientific expertise in the management of national parks, natural reserves and other protected areas. The agreement includes language around ecological restoration, conservation measures for endangered wildlife, wetlands development, and the preservation of forests and wetlands. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/47096398@N08/" target="_hplink">Flickr: eleephotography</a>)
- A continuation of the MOU, first signed in 2001 and renewed in 2006, on energy co-operation to "engage China on energy issues" through a Canada-China joint working group on energy co-operation, chaired by Natural Resources Canada and China's national energy administration, which is responsible for Chinese energy policy. The working group oversees joint research projects, exchange of expertise, and co-operation between energy companies in both countries, including the promotion of energy efficiency and renewables. It aims to both attract capital investment and improve market access for Canadian energy resources and technology. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Science and Technology
- Approval of seven projects, valued at $10 million, under the Canada-China framework for co-operation on science and technology and innovation, including: a diagnostic kit for acute kidney injuries, a wind energy seawater desalination system, a waste heat-recovery system to help oil refineries consume less fuel, new solar cells for renewable energy panels, a real-time multi-sensor navigational tracking device for hand-held devices, a blue-green algae bloom warning system and "next generation" large-scale geographic information systems. - Two more calls for proposals, valued at $18 million ($9 million from each country) for joint research under the same framework. These proposals are for the development of "innovations with high commercial potential" in the areas of human vaccines and clean automotive transportation. The Canada-China joint committee on science and technology, made up of individuals from industry, academia and government, sets the priorities and oversees these projects. (To date, 21 projects ranging from nuclear power to AIDS drugs, to clean technologies for pulp and paper have received some $28 million in funding.) (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
- A renewed MOU extending and modifying the Canada-China scholars' exchange program, which has seen 900 students travel between Canada and China since 1973. New eligibility rules and scholarships will be in place for the next round of competitions in 2012, including eight to 12 Canadian scholarships for Chinese professionals and 20 awards for Canadian university students. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/plutor/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Plutor</a>)