Saanich entrepreneur Alistair Vigier predicts Canada will benefit from rising tensions between the United States and China by attracting investment. Black Press File.

Saanich entrepreneur Alistair Vigier predicts Canada will benefit from rising tensions between the United States and China by attracting investment. Black Press File.

Saanich entrepreneur predicts Canada will cash in on U.S. trade dispute with China

A Saanich entrepreneur familiar with China says current trade tensions between the United States and China could benefit Canada, notwithstanding measures designed to curb foreign investment.

“The [United States] is becoming less attractive for Chinese people because of the potential trade war and issues like that,” said Alistair Vigier, chief executive officer of ClearWay Law, in an interview describing his second journey to China after a trip in late 2017.

Alistair Vigier, who also won a B.C. Business Magazine 30 Under 30 Award in April 2017 and currently serves as international consultant for Jusu Body, made these comments after the provincial government had extended the foreign buyers’ tax to the Greater Victoria area and curbed the purchases of second homes.

These measures barely resonate in China, where residents consider Canada on par with the United Kingdom and Australia, when it comes to investing. The reputation of the United States has suffered against the backdrop of simmering tensions.

“So I know Chinese people are concerned about moving their money into the U.S. in case there is retaliation,” he said. “I see that Canada will become more and more popular for Chinese people regardless of the [foreign-buyers] tax. Obviously, it is a large amount of extra money to pay as a foreigner here. But if you have a lot of money, and you are just trying to get it out of China for safe-keeping, Canada is still the safest place.”

Vigier’s business trip took him among to Beijing and Shanghai among other spots.

While Vigier had a better idea of what to expect, many aspects surprised him.

One of those was alcohol. Lunch often involves multiple drinks, as participants cheer frequently. Certain norms also guide this custom. Junior professionals, for example, must tap the lower end of the glasses that belong to senior professionals.

“It sounds trivial to us, but to them, they take it very seriously,” he said. Even the amount matters, as Vigier found out, when a communist party official asked him to refill his glass before cheering. “He actually wouldn’t let me tap his glass until my alcohol was at a certain level. It was too low for some reason.”

Vigier’s visit to China happened against the backdrop of the 13th National People’s Congress of China that elevated the status and power of Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose government has stepped up control, something Vigier has noticed.

“I think Chinese people agree with me about the statement that things are a lot more strict in China,” he said.

Accepting China’s authoritarian leadership is part and parcel of the bargaining when it comes to doing business.

“If you want to go and do business in any developing country, if we are talking about Africa, the Middle East, if we are talking about China, Asia, there is going to be a list of things that offend us as Canadians,” he said. “You have to make that decision if you are comfortable with that.”

This said, Vigier hopes and expects China will move towards Canadian standards of social and political developments, and he has actually considered moving to China, were it not for the air pollution

“That’s a big no for me,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

Registered nurse Sammy Mullally displayed a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., in 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Councillors call on Saanich to address overdose crisis, explore options for safe consumption sites

‘There’s no vaccine for this problem,’ new action is needed, councillors say

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bastion Square attack leaves victim with life-altering injuries

Victoria police looking for witnesses, information

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke woman almost falls for lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

NEW CUTLINE Pacific FC fans fill the stands during a game at the former Westhills Stadium
 Starlight Developments has purchased the naming rights from the City of Langford for the next 10 years.(Gazette file photo)

Pacific FC slid into third place in the league after defeating FC Edmonton 1-0 at Westhills Stadium on Saturday. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Langford sells stadium naming rights for $500,000 to Starlight Developments

10-year sponsorship deal largest in the history of Langford, says mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to Chantel Moore police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined 2nd time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hiker among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Most Read