Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to China next month in pursuit of Chinese capital and markets for Canadian oil and other goods. But Canadians are particularly sensitive to Chinese investment. When China’s Minmetals Group was negotiating to take over the largest Canadian metal firm, Noranda, in 2004 (which eventually failed), there was barely any Chinese investment in this country. Yet alarm bells rang loud on the danger of a state-owned Chinese firm controlling a major Canadian corporation.
While Canadians worry about the negative impact of Chinese investment, current or potential, they should also be aware of its benefits. First, more investment from China and other Asian countries will supply much needed funding for the long-term sustainable development of Canada’s largest economic sector. It will also make the Canadian foreign-investment portfolio more diversified, since it has been dominated mostly by U.S. firms.
Second, all ventures involving Chinese firms are creating Canadian jobs. The MacKay River project will preserve well over 90% of the Canadian employees and the existing management team, with only a small group of Chinese technical managers coming to work in the field. The newly created Sinopec Daylight Energy, another Canadian company owned by the Chinese, operates the same way.
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