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Canadian ambassador to China damns Trump with faint praise in HK

THE Canadian Ambassador to China David McCallum thanked US President Donald Trump for his actions abandoning the Paris climate accord and commercial detente with China because it gave Canada an opportunty to move into the void.

"So I must thank Donald Trump for that on Canada's behalf," he told a luncheon held by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong at the Island Shangri la Hotel on Tuesday.

Mr McCallum praised the recent trade mission by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, though it failed to achieve even the next step towards a free trade deal with China.

"Trade deals take time. Australia took 10 years to achieve one. I have hope to achieve one in four years before the end of my term," he said.

The state visit did not go as planned. When the Canadian prime minister arrived there was an expectation of a joint communique announcing the next step to move to substantial trade talks.

But there was no joint statement, only a confirmation that exploratory talks would continue.

At issue were Mr Trudeau's demands for the inclusion of measures on environmental, climate change, gender equality and other "Canadian values" be included in any pact. China appeared unwilling to make such commitments.

Mr McCallum said Trudeau's parting speech in Guangzhou was a defence of these values. It was expected, Mr McCallum said, that Chinese President Xi Jinping would also speak at the event, but he did not attend.

Mr McCallum said one of the best prospects for Sino-Canadian trade is tourism. But to fully realise its potential there would have to be more resources brought to bear.

He also stated that the "One Country Two Systems" was important to Canada, pointing out that all but one of the Canadian consulates in China reports to him.

"But the Consul-General in Hong Kong reports to Ottawa. It is a reflection of Hong Kong's special status," he said.
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