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Huawei exec’s arrest halting Chinese firms’ Canadian expansion plans, says auto sector spokesman





Several Chinese automakers planning to expand production into Canada have put their plans on hold over the Vancouver arrest of Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s CFO, says Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

“Those companies are saying, ‘Look, while we’re still interested of course, North America is a target market for our goods … right now, we’re going to put this on pause,'” Volpe told CBC News.

Volpe said that over the last several months, the APMA has hosted delegations from two major Chinese automakers and was planning on hosting another firm next month. Volpe would not identify the companies by name.

Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver earlier this month under an extradition request from the United States.

American prosecutors allege Meng deceived financial institutions into dealing in dirty money through an arrangement which saw Huawei and another company called Skycom doing business in Iran, in contravention of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Volpe said the arrest has put a chill on the Chinese firms’ expansion plans in Canada.

“They’ve explicitly brought that up, and have changed the discussion to, instead of the immediate term, they’re talking about, ‘Well … let’s settle the uncertainty first and we might be a couple years out,'” he said.

Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained by China last week over what the Beijing News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, described as suspicion of engagement in activities endangering China’s state security — a move widely seen as payback for Meng’s arrest.

A Destination Canada ad promoting Canadian tourism to the Chinese market on the Chinese social media site Weibo. (weibo/Destination Canada)

The news of the Chinese automakers pulling back comes as Destination Canada, a Crown corporation that markets Canada as a tourism destination internationally, has called a temporary halt to its efforts to advertise in China.

“Destination Canada, along with our co-invested partners, (has) decided to temporarily pause or postpone our current marketing efforts in China,” said spokeswoman Emma Slieker.

“There are exceptional circumstances when geopolitical issues or tragic events make tourism marketing potentially damaging to the destination’s reputation, and has given cause for us to temporarily delay or pause marketing activities abroad.”

The Canada-China Year of Tourism 2018 was developed as a partnership to promote travel between the two countries. Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly had planned to be in Beijing for the closing ceremony, set for Dec. 17 to 20, but the government called off her trip last week.

Replacing Oshawa

Lynette Ong, an associate professor in the University of Toronto’s department of political science and Asian Institute, said that a two-year delay on Chinese investment in Canada is probably a “worst case scenario” and that a six month chill is more likely.

“I think the most serious consequences should be seen in the next three months or so — that is, when Meng’s extradition trial is due in February,” Ong said. “The next three months will be absolutely critical for Canada-China relations.”

Volpe said that Canadian auto parts makers were selling about $3 billion a year in product to the General Motors plant in Oshawa. Now that the automaker has decided to close that facility, the auto parts industry in Canada needs a new customer.

“An investment by a Chinese automaker would replace that capacity,” he said. “These opportunities run at the same scale as the ones that decide to leave.”

‘An emerging cold war’

The APMA president said there are only limited number of automakers around the world with the ability to replace the Oshawa facility — maybe five or six at the most. Luring Chinese manufacturers to Canada has become much more challenging, he said.

“We’re doing a lot of work to express that, on a 20-year investment basis, the Chinese can’t beat being in Ontario,” he said. “But … the Americans have put us in a very tough spot here.

“There’s an interplay between the two biggest superpowers. It’s maybe an emerging cold war of sorts. And the Americans, of course, know that we are a rule of law country, and they’ve put us between the unstoppable force and the immovable object.”

Volpe said that the U.S. typically sought international trade expansion in the past, but U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has instead been forcing Canada to choose between the rest of the world and the American market.

“We’re not stupid — 75 per cent of the opportunity will always be tied geographically to the Americans, and I think our industry has done very well serving the American market,” he said.

In the meantime, Ong said, Canada should avoid making drastic moves or acting out of panic.

“If the Chinese authorities were to arrest a third Canadian, then I would start to panic,” she said.

Ong said she expects to see the dispute resolved in the next six months, allowing business and trade to get back on track.

“I say so because I think there’s also huge collateral damage on behalf of the Chinese authorities,” she said.  

“There’s costs on their legitimacy, costs on their reputation as an international trading power, just costs on the Chinese government as a whole. The longer they hold the two Canadians without any fair trial, without any fair charges, the greater the cost it is on their reputation.”


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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