Monday, September 10, 2012

Not cracking open the champagne on Canada-China FIPA just yet

The Agreement has now been signed by the President of China.  That has the effect of sending out a signal giving hope that China wants to deal fairly in foreign investment with Canada, so perhaps we should go easy on our concerns over CNOOC-Nexen.  But it is still subject to ratification by the National People's Congress.  Our experience with India might be instructive here:
From the DFAIT website (
"Canada and India announced the conclusion of negotiations towards a bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) on June 16, 2007 during the visit to Ottawa of India's then Minister of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Kamal Nath. Both sides agreed to carry out their respective procedures leading to formal signature and ratification of the agreement. However, during this process, in October 2009, India notified Canada that it had some concerns with the agreed text. Canada is committed to this important investment agreement and efforts to negotiate a resolution to these issues have been underway since that time so that the agreement can be completed and ratified as soon as possible."

But to me the larger issue is that we have not seen the negotiated text yet.  
Does it provide sufficient legal teeth to guarantees that Canadians will be treated fairly in the Chinese market? 
Is this an agreement that the Chinese central authorities can or will actually enforce?  
Will it help us to actually make some progress in the Chinese market?  

I wonder about such things.

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