Canada’s dispute with China over the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, has escalated in recent weeks.
Beijing has upped the pressure by blocking imports of canola and suspending the permits of two major pork suppliers.
Canadian trade delegation’s attempts to visit Beijing in order to negate a major threat to commodity exports were also blocked.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration has been left with little room to maneuver so they turned to Washington for help in settling the ongoing dispute with China.
Canada says the United States is obligated to help, given that the U.S. arrest warrant on Meng’s arrest triggered the crisis with Beijing.
However, the lukewarm response from Washington frustrated Ottawa leading them to warn Washington that “it could withhold cooperation on major issues.”
Canada’s U.S. ambassador David MacNaughton, strongly suggested future requests for assistance would be declined unless Washington cooperated more.
“How do you go to canola farmers and relatives of the two (Canadian detainees) and say ‘Well, actually, notwithstanding all of this, we’re going to try and do whatever we can to help?'” he said.
“It makes it much more difficult in public opinion terms for the prime minister to have permission to do some of the things that would be in both countries’ interests,” he added.
MacNaughton said part of Canada’s frustration also stems from the lack of clarity on U.S. intentions toward Meng, who’s currently under arrest in her Vancouver house.
She is scheduled to appear in court on May 8, prior to the extradition hearing which could go on for years. Trump has previously suggested the charges against her could be dropped if that would help the trade talks.
MacNaughton asked the U.S to clarify its official position: “What we’ve said is, we’d like to have a little better sense of what your plans are in terms of dealing with her. Are you engaged in negotiations over a plea deal? We’re completely in the dark.”