China's economy teeters, Canada cringes

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Protests in Beijing today are over uninhabited land in an ongoing dispute with Japan but if the Chinese are feeling uneasy it might also have to do with their economy. China is piling up unsold goods, new houses sit empty ... its official government economic numbers are suspect. China is our second-largest trading partner, countless Canadian businesses manufacture there now but domestic debt is piling up and its spectacular growth is slowing. Are we looking at an ominous slide or merely a short, bumpy ride?




China's economy teeters, Canada cringes - J Capital Research

About a decade ago, the people at Stork Craft Manufacturing began to believe they might be in trouble. The Richmond B.C. based company -- made and sold cribs and children's beds for half-a-century. But it was getting tough to run a manufacturing business in Canada.

Jim Moore is the President and CEO of Stork Craft. And he says that once the company built a manufacturing presence in Asia -- China especially -- it opened up new markets and transformed the company in ways he hadn't expected.

Many Canadian companies have been grateful for the Bright Star in the East. Since the economic downturn of 2008, China's economy has grown at at double-digit rates. China is now Canada's second largest export market. Our exports to China more than doubled in the last five years.

And increasingly, it is China -- not the U.S. -- that drives global commodity prices. They in turn, drive a sizable portion of the Canadian economy. The trouble is China's economic juggernaut seems to be slowing.

Wang Wei is a Chinese businessman who's imported foreign wine into China for the last 5 years. He says he had a few boom years as the emerging Chinese middle class developed a taste for all things foreign. But his business has gone south over the last 18 months as people cut back on luxuries. We heard from Wang Wei.

For a sense of the broader picture, we were joined by Anne Stevenson-Yang. She is the Research Director for J Capital Research, a Hong Kong-based company that does independent economic analysis. She was in Washington.

China's economy teeters, Canada cringes - TD Bank Financial Group

Most China watchers believe the country's economic growth is definitely slowing. But not everyone thinks it has slammed on the brakes.

Craig Alexander is the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for the TD Bank Financial Group. He was in Toronto.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

Last Word - Salman Rushdie on AIH

Listen tonight to As It Happens for a feature interview with Salman Rushdie. The author was in Toronto for the screening of the film version of his novel Midnight's Children. Salman Rushdie speaks with Carol Off about his new memoir and the years he spent in hiding after Iran sentenced him to death for writing the Satanic Verses.

He has fond memories of Canada from that time. You can hear the whole interview tonight on As It Happens at 6:30, half an hour later in Newfoundland and parts of Labrador.

But on today's Last Word, we aired an excerpt of that conversation -- Salman Rushdie and his story of a happy reunion.


Other segments from today's show:

Canada's Pork Industry calling for a bail out

America, But Better: The Canada Party Manifesto

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