As our trade deficit with China surges, a “free trade” deal with that country would make things even worse.
As the Trudeau government pushes for what would be an economically devastating “free trade” deal with China, a study by Policy Options reveals the massive damage increased trade with China has done to the Canadian manufacturing sector.
According to the study, increased imports from China caused a net loss of 105,000 Canadian manufacturing jobs between 2001 – 2011. During that time, a total of 508,000 manufacturing jobs were lost (as Canada increased trade with other cheap labour countries).
The study also measured total job losses due to increased Chinese imports between 1991 and 2001 as trade with China began ramping up. During that time 64,000 jobs were lost due to increased Chinese imports, bringing the 1991-2011 total to about 170,000 lost manufacturing jobs lost.
Devastating impact on Canadian manufacturing
Beyond the loss of manufacturing jobs, the rise of trade with China coincides with a massive change in the trajectory of manufacturing employment in Canada.
The study notes that between 1992 – 2000, manufacturing employment was growing 2.7% per year in Canada. However, between 2000 – 2008, manufacturing employment dropped 1.9% per year, and declined by 1.7% per year between 2008 – 2015. Says the report, “the 2000-08 period was a time of rapid growth in Chinese import penetration in Canadian manufacturing.”
So, not only were manufacturing jobs directly lost, but many more were never created, robbing hundreds of thousands of Canadians of the opportunity for good, well-paying jobs.
Massive and growing trade deficit
Not only has increased trade with China cost us tons of jobs, but it’s also been massively one-sided. Take a look at the chart below from the Policy Options report:
Notice that from 1992 – 2000 the trade deficit grows at a slow pace, and this coincides with continued growth in Canadian manufacturing. Then, starting around 2001, the trade deficit begins to deepen, and this coincides with the decline in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
Clearly, we are in an undeclared trade war with China, except only China seems to know they’re fighting.
This puts the lie to the argument that the loss of manufacturing jobs was “inevitable”. The more Canada let other countries flood our nation with cheap products, the more manufacturing jobs we lost. Of course, over this same time period we’ve watched the increased concentration of wealth in the hands of the elites, stagnating wages, and the decline in good, stable employment. Increased trade with cheap labour countries has severely damaged middle income and working-class Canadians, and China has done the most damage.
“Free trade” with China would be devastating for our economy
Instead of signing more trade deals with cheap labour nations, Canada should be protecting our manufacturing sector, and helping it to grow. This means maintaining trade with nations that have similar labour and environmental standards, while increasing tariffs on cheap labour nations. We should focus on becoming a more export-oriented nation, rather than running huge trade deficits.
Good, high-paying jobs can be brought back to Canada, and wages can start going up in a meaningful way, but only if we abandon the failed “free trade” orthodoxy that sells out Canadian workers while enriching globalist elites.
Unfortunately, the Trudeau government is going in the exact opposite direction.
With the backing of Canada’s elites, the Trudeau government is pushing for a so-called “free trade” deal with China, which would finish off what’s left of our manufacturing sector, strip our nation of good jobs, and drive wages into the ground.
Canadians of all political stripes must come together to stop Trudeau’s dangerous effort to sell us out to China, and we must protect Canadian jobs and Canadian wages. If Trudeau succeeds in his push for “free trade” with China, Canadians will pay a terrible economic price that we will regret for generations.
The elites want to hide their many failures behind political correctness, deception, and manipulation. We need to push back and spread the truth.
That’s why I write.
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