Canada says war, climate concerns show need for supply chain shift

OTTAWA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The Russian invasion of Ukraine shows that authoritarian regimes are not reliable trade partners and future supply chains should run through countries like Canada that are concerned about carbon emissions and human rights, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Trudeau recently returned from an official trip to the G20 and other summits in Asia, where he pitched Canada as a dependable global supplier of critical minerals and energy. Canada also launched an Indo-Pacific strategy on Sunday meant to counter Chinese power in the region.

"What we're focused on now is very much ensuring that our economies - our open, free economies - don't rely on authoritarian leaders like (Russian President) Vladimir Putin," Trudeau said in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference, which is taking place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Europe has quickly pivoted away from Russian energy, Trudeau noted, and countries should be looking for alternate suppliers like Canada that have "high environmental standards" and respect for human and labor rights, Trudeau said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is interviewed by Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni via video link during a Reuters NEXT Newsmaker event in New York City, U.S., November 30, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

China now dominates the critical-mineral portion of the electric vehicle supply chain. In recent months, Canada has also been reminding its top trading partner, the United States, of its value as a neighbor.

"Protectionism against Canadian investors or Canadian companies actually ends up hurting U.S. companies and U.S. workers in significant ways," Trudeau said when asked if he was concerned about protectionist trade policies again being an issue in the 2024 U.S. elections.

Trudeau also said he stands with protesters in China who are demonstrating against the world's toughest COVID-19 restrictions, after reports of clashes between police and protesters in Guangzhou.

"We of course stand with those protesters," Trudeau said.

The Canadian leader said his government was watching "very closely" the protests unfolding in China. "It's really important that citizens be able to make themselves heard," he said.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Paul Simao

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