Canada Official: Government Must Accommodate Foreign Investment

OTTAWA – Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Thursday his government needed to have some "accommodation" in its policy regarding foreign investment.

The comments, in an interview broadcast on Canadian Broadcasting Corp., came as Canada's Conservative government reviews a proposed, but controversial, $15.1 billion takeover led by China-owned Cnooc Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta's Nexen Inc.

"We know we don't have enough capital in this country to develop the resources that we want to develop," Mr. Flaherty said. "We have to have some accommodation with respect to foreign investment."

He said crafting policy regarding foreign investment is "complicated."

Under Canadian law, the government must vet and sign off on all big foreign-led deals. But Cnooc's bid, believed to be the largest by a Chinese state-owned company, has prompted the Canadian government to develop new guidelines regarding foreign takeovers. The government has said those guidelines would be released at or around the same time as its decision on Cnooc, which is expected next month.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd., another state-owned energy company, said this week it submitted to the Canadian government a revised takeover offer for Progress Energy Resources Corp., a bid valued at 5.18 billion Canadian dollars ($5.19 billion).

In October, the Canadian government rejected Petronas's initial offer, arguing it didn't offer a so-called net benefit to the Canadian economy.


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