Focus on Foreign Investment: Canada Gives Green Light to CNOOC and Petronas Deals, But Red Light to Future SOE Takeovers in Oil Sands

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On Friday, December 7th, the Canadian Government approved two controversial takeovers of Canadian companies under the Investment Canada Act, Canada’s foreign investment review legislation: the acquisition of oil and gas company Nexen by Chinese stateowned enterprise (SOE), CNOOC, and the acquisition of natural gas producer Progress Energy by Malaysian SOE, Petronas.

The Investment Canada reviews of these two investments have required a delicate balancing act for Prime Minister Harper, particularly for the CNOOC transaction. On the one hand, the Government did not wish to undermine the enormous progress in the Canada-China relationship that has been made over the past three years (since the Prime Minister’s first trip to China) but on the other hand, vociferous opposition to the deal within the governing Conservative Party and expressions of concerns from various stakeholders within Canada had to be addressed.

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