Canada’s trade deficit with China reached a record of $50 billion according to data presented to MPs on Thursday.

Trade data from January to November 2019 suggests that last year Canada’s trade deficit with China was at least $2 billion higher than in 2018.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Canada has had a trade deficit with China since 1992. Between 2014 and 2016 the annual trade deficit doubled.

In the newly-created House of Commons Committee on Canada-China Relations, assistant deputy foreign minister Steve Verheul told MPs that the trade deficit increased as China purchased less natural resources from Canada.

“From January to November 2019 our exports to China fell by some 14.7% compared to 2018 driven by a drop in canola seed, wood pulp and nickel shipments,” he said.

“I should point out part of this is clearly due to the economic slowdown in China, as well as the deteriorating relationship.” 

While the Chinese economy has slowed down, China actively tried to stop Canadian exports throughout 2019.

Last year China halted imports of many Canadian goods, most notably canola and meat products, citing health reasons that industry experts have called “preposterous.”

Limits on Canadian products and disrespectful remarks from Chinese officials throughout 2019 have largely been seen as revenge for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on an American warrant in December 2018.

Last week Meng’s lawyers made their final arguments against extradition to the United States in a Vancouver courthouse.

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