Expanding opportunities for Canada-US coordination on China

Editor's note:

In this paper, Ryan Hass takes stock of how the United States under the Biden Administration, represents an opportunity for Washington and Ottawa to act on a shared agenda with respect to China, arguing that: “Canada will play an important role in helping frame a realistically ambitious agenda for [America’s] China policy. Through its own example, Ottawa also may prod Washington to live up to its values and ideals.” This paper was originally published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.


In recent years, US-China strategic competition has ramped up. While US President Joe Biden may cool the temperature somewhat, he has also promised to take a more multilateral approach in pushing back against problematic behaviour from Beijing. But where does this leave Canada?

Ryan Hass takes stock of how this change in US leadership represents an opportunity for Washington and Ottawa to act on a shared agenda with respect to China.“As one of America’s most valued friends and trusted partners, Canada will have an outsized role in helping Washington identify what Chinese actions should be prioritized for pushback,” argues Hass. America’s approach to China focuses on rebuilding leverage by investing in alliances, reestablishing US leadership on the world stage, and more.

With a less combative and more trusted partner in Washington, Canada has even greater opportunities to finally match our foreign policy to our interests vis-à-vis China.

Hass finds that there is considerable common ground and political appetite on both sides of the border for cooperation on a number of issues related to China, including “human rights concerns, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, problematic Chinese economic practices, maritime issues, and concerns relating to Chinese efforts to act extraterritorially.”