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Biden’s scrapping of Keystone pipeline allows Canada’s Trudeau to move on

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s move to scrap the Keystone XL oil pipeline, while a blow to Canada’s energy sector, is a blessing in disguise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is eager to embrace the new administration, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Biden formally revoked the permit to build the pipeline on Wednesday, killing the $8 billion project to pump oil sands crude from Alberta to Nebraska.

“At first glance this is bad news… but at least now the matter is settled and won’t be souring bilateral relations for months to come,” a diplomatic source from a major allied country said.

“Canada hasn’t had to expend any serious political capital with the Biden administration on the pipeline and can now focus on the many other areas where Trudeau feels the two nations should cooperate,” the source said.

Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden after the November election, and hopes to be the first to meet with him in a bid to turn the page on the Donald Trump era, when relations between the two countries were often turbulent.

A Biden spokeswoman said the president’s first call to a foreign leader would be to Trudeau on Friday.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Trudeau said “we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision” while welcoming his move to rejoin the Paris agreement on climate change.

“I look forward to working with President Biden to reduce pollution,” he said. Trudeau, first elected in 2015, has consistently said cutting the greenhouse gases widely blamed for global warming is a big priority.

Trudeau is also weighing a possible snap election this year, and he has much riding on his ties with Biden.

“The relationship is much bigger than one project,” said a Canadian source familiar with the matter.

Keystone XL was meant to carry 830,000 barrels per day to the United States, but ran into fierce domestic opposition.

During his election campaign, Biden promised quash the pipeline, which Trudeau has supported since before he became prime minister.

The permit revocation “is not the best way to start off” with a new president, said Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Trudeau and University of Ottawa international affairs professor.

“This issue should not be seen as a litmus test to the relationship because there are many other areas where Canada will be able to cooperate with the new Biden administration,” Paris said.

Trudeau told Reuters last week he was looking to Biden to re-engage with allies around the world, and that he wanted to discuss climate change.

Biden’s ambitious climate change plan includes $2 trillion in investment for clean-energy infrastructure over four years and “opens up opportunities for collaboration” with Canada, said Sara Hastings-Simon, a researcher at the Colorado School of Mines.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer, additional reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)

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As economy rebounds, China parliament to address long-term pitfalls – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s annual session of parliament will chart a course for economic recovery and unveil a five-year plan to fend off stagnation, as strategic rivalry with the United States spurs a shift to reliance on consumption and home-grown technology.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) opens Friday, when Premier Li Keqiang will deliver the 2021 work report, which for a second consecutive year is not expected to include an explicit economic growth target, sources have said, due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the same day, China will also release its 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for 2021-2025 that calls for quickening reforms to unleash fresh growth drivers and make the economy more innovative. Sources have said a goal of the plan will be to achieve economic growth averaging around 5%.

China may also set electoral reforms in Hong Kong, where Beijing has been tightening its grip since imposing national security legislation last year after months of unrest in 2019. The reforms will reinforce Beijing’s ambition to have the Chinese territory run by “patriots”, and would further marginalise pro-democracy candidates.

This year’s NPC, which takes place in the massive Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, returns to its traditional March 5 start after last year’s pandemic-induced delay.

“The 14th 5-year plan will give science, technology and innovation near-absolute priority,” China Policy, a Beijing-based consultancy, said in a recent report.

As tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen, U.S. bans on supplies of semiconductors to top telecoms gear maker Huawei have exposed China’s reliance on imported technology.

“Beyond raising productivity, boosting consumption, revitalising the countryside and cleaning up the environment, becoming a sci-tech powerhouse is an issue of national security,” China Policy said.

AVOIDING TRAP

President Xi Jinping, whose leadership has been burnished domestically by China’s recovery from COVID-19 despite criticism over its early handling of the outbreak, aims to make China a “high income” nation by 2025 and a “moderately developed” nation by 2035, when its economy is expected to double the 2020 level.

To fulfill Xi’s ambition of making China a global power, the new five-year plan will have to steer the world’s second-largest economy past the so-called “middle income trap” – where countries fail to spur productivity and climb up the global value chain.

China needs to achieve breakthroughs in key areas vulnerable to “foreign tech strangleholds,” such as chips, lithography machines and operating systems, Jia Kang, head of the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics, told Reuters.

“The plan will not be limited to the 14th five-year period, it will be connected to 2035 – how can we achieve sustainable development after bypassing ‘the middle income trap,” Jia said.

The London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts China will leapfrog the United States as the world’s biggest economy in 2028, five years earlier than previously forecast, due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the pandemic.

UNEVEN RECOVERY

Policymakers will scale back support for the economy this year after last year’s raft of stimulus measures, but will tread warily for fear of derailing a recovery that remains uneven, as consumption lags and small firms struggle, policy insiders said.

Before the meeting, policy advisers recommended a 2021 budget deficit ranging from 3% to 3.5% of GDP, compared with above 3.6% last year.

China’s recovery has yet to attain a solid footing, the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, said on Friday.

The economy could expand 8-9% in 2021, but the recovery from a low base in 2020 would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the central bank, said on Friday.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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As economy rebounds, China parliament to address long-term pitfalls – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s annual session of parliament will chart a course for economic recovery and unveil a five-year plan to fend off stagnation, as strategic rivalry with the United States spurs a shift to reliance on consumption and home-grown technology.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) opens Friday, when Premier Li Keqiang will deliver the 2021 work report, which for a second consecutive year is not expected to include an explicit economic growth target, sources have said, due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the same day, China will also release its 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for 2021-2025 that calls for quickening reforms to unleash fresh growth drivers and make the economy more innovative. Sources have said a goal of the plan will be to achieve economic growth averaging around 5%.

China may also set electoral reforms in Hong Kong, where Beijing has been tightening its grip since imposing national security legislation last year after months of unrest in 2019. The reforms will reinforce Beijing’s ambition to have the Chinese territory run by “patriots”, and would further marginalise pro-democracy candidates.

This year’s NPC, which takes place in the massive Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, returns to its traditional March 5 start after last year’s pandemic-induced delay.

“The 14th 5-year plan will give science, technology and innovation near-absolute priority,” China Policy, a Beijing-based consultancy, said in a recent report.

As tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen, U.S. bans on supplies of semiconductors to top telecoms gear maker Huawei have exposed China’s reliance on imported technology.

“Beyond raising productivity, boosting consumption, revitalising the countryside and cleaning up the environment, becoming a sci-tech powerhouse is an issue of national security,” China Policy said.

AVOIDING TRAP

President Xi Jinping, whose leadership has been burnished domestically by China’s recovery from COVID-19 despite criticism over its early handling of the outbreak, aims to make China a “high income” nation by 2025 and a “moderately developed” nation by 2035, when its economy is expected to double the 2020 level.

To fulfill Xi’s ambition of making China a global power, the new five-year plan will have to steer the world’s second-largest economy past the so-called “middle income trap” – where countries fail to spur productivity and climb up the global value chain.

China needs to achieve breakthroughs in key areas vulnerable to “foreign tech strangleholds,” such as chips, lithography machines and operating systems, Jia Kang, head of the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics, told Reuters.

“The plan will not be limited to the 14th five-year period, it will be connected to 2035 – how can we achieve sustainable development after bypassing ‘the middle income trap,” Jia said.

The London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts China will leapfrog the United States as the world’s biggest economy in 2028, five years earlier than previously forecast, due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the pandemic.

UNEVEN RECOVERY

Policymakers will scale back support for the economy this year after last year’s raft of stimulus measures, but will tread warily for fear of derailing a recovery that remains uneven, as consumption lags and small firms struggle, policy insiders said.

Before the meeting, policy advisers recommended a 2021 budget deficit ranging from 3% to 3.5% of GDP, compared with above 3.6% last year.

China’s recovery has yet to attain a solid footing, the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, said on Friday.

The economy could expand 8-9% in 2021, but the recovery from a low base in 2020 would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the central bank, said on Friday.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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As economy rebounds, China parliament to address long-term pitfalls – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s annual session of parliament will chart a course for economic recovery and unveil a five-year plan to fend off stagnation, as strategic rivalry with the United States spurs a shift to reliance on consumption and home-grown technology.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) opens Friday, when Premier Li Keqiang will deliver the 2021 work report, which for a second consecutive year is not expected to include an explicit economic growth target, sources have said, due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the same day, China will also release its 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for 2021-2025 that calls for quickening reforms to unleash fresh growth drivers and make the economy more innovative. Sources have said a goal of the plan will be to achieve economic growth averaging around 5%.

China may also set electoral reforms in Hong Kong, where Beijing has been tightening its grip since imposing national security legislation last year after months of unrest in 2019. The reforms will reinforce Beijing’s ambition to have the Chinese territory run by “patriots”, and would further marginalise pro-democracy candidates.

This year’s NPC, which takes place in the massive Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, returns to its traditional March 5 start after last year’s pandemic-induced delay.

“The 14th 5-year plan will give science, technology and innovation near-absolute priority,” China Policy, a Beijing-based consultancy, said in a recent report.

As tensions between Beijing and Washington have risen, U.S. bans on supplies of semiconductors to top telecoms gear maker Huawei have exposed China’s reliance on imported technology.

“Beyond raising productivity, boosting consumption, revitalising the countryside and cleaning up the environment, becoming a sci-tech powerhouse is an issue of national security,” China Policy said.

AVOIDING TRAP

President Xi Jinping, whose leadership has been burnished domestically by China’s recovery from COVID-19 despite criticism over its early handling of the outbreak, aims to make China a “high income” nation by 2025 and a “moderately developed” nation by 2035, when its economy is expected to double the 2020 level.

To fulfill Xi’s ambition of making China a global power, the new five-year plan will have to steer the world’s second-largest economy past the so-called “middle income trap” – where countries fail to spur productivity and climb up the global value chain.

China needs to achieve breakthroughs in key areas vulnerable to “foreign tech strangleholds,” such as chips, lithography machines and operating systems, Jia Kang, head of the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics, told Reuters.

“The plan will not be limited to the 14th five-year period, it will be connected to 2035 – how can we achieve sustainable development after bypassing ‘the middle income trap,” Jia said.

The London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts China will leapfrog the United States as the world’s biggest economy in 2028, five years earlier than previously forecast, due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the pandemic.

UNEVEN RECOVERY

Policymakers will scale back support for the economy this year after last year’s raft of stimulus measures, but will tread warily for fear of derailing a recovery that remains uneven, as consumption lags and small firms struggle, policy insiders said.

Before the meeting, policy advisers recommended a 2021 budget deficit ranging from 3% to 3.5% of GDP, compared with above 3.6% last year.

China’s recovery has yet to attain a solid footing, the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, said on Friday.

The economy could expand 8-9% in 2021, but the recovery from a low base in 2020 would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the central bank, said on Friday.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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