China trip changes view on environmental laws


China is a country of contradictions, says Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer.


You have the extremely rich living next door to the poor, Kraemer told council Wednesday evening, but the country has big plans for the future.


Kraemer, just returned from a trade mission with a group of other Ontario mayors, said the goal of the Chinese is to be 90 per cent urbanized within 10 years. In a country of 1.3 billion people, that’s like building 10,000 new cities.


Construction is everywhere. The Chinese put up apartment buildings faster than we do single family structures.


China has many problems though – smog air pollution, sanitary conditions. Nuclear power is likely the only thing that could replace coal to do away with some of the pollution, he said.


Kraemer, who is in the tire business, said he toured a tire factory and found it behind a similar plant in the west, especially in safety conditions.


The trip changed Kraemer’s views on environmental laws. After seeing the result of no environmental controls, he said he now appreciates the need for such laws. Not seeing the sun for several days in a city because of smog changes the mind about environmental laws.


There as an honest desire to do full-time trade, said Kraemer, but added that the Chinese do business in a different way.


The Chinese want to invest in projects that are ready to go - they don’t want to do long term planning. And if Canadians want to invest there it is the same thing; they provide a list of ready to go projects that a company might be interested in.