Canada's Clement to Issue Foreign-Investment Guidance Before End of Year

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement, who this month rejected BHP Billiton Ltd.’s $40 billion bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., said the government will issue guidelines on its foreign-investment law before the end of the year.

“I would like to give more certainty to international investment markets as to how we interpret the factors that are found in the Act -- that way, the ground rules will be better known for potential investors,” Clement said today in a telephone interview.

Clement refused the takeover offer from Melbourne-based BHP, the world’s largest mining company, on Nov. 3, saying the proposal doesn’t provide a “net benefit” to Canada. BHP had 30 days from the date of the ruling to appeal and chose to drop its bid on Nov. 14. Clement’s decision was only the nation’s second rejection of a foreign takeover in the past 25 years.

“In the days ahead it will be communicated,” said Clement, who spoke from Atlanta, where was attending the Americas Competitiveness Forum with his U.S. and Mexican counterparts.

Clement also said that “separate and apart” from the interpretation guidelines, the government will examine recommendations from a Parliamentary committee if it decides to review the legislation.

The New Democratic Party, the smallest opposition party in Parliament, is proposing a motion demanding the government amend the foreign-investment legislation to include public hearings as part of the review process. The motion, on which lawmakers will vote today, would call on the government to make public the promises made by companies to gain approval.

Under the Investment Canada Act, the government can block any transaction valued at C$299 million ($292 million) or more if it finds it doesn’t provide benefits to the country such as jobs, exports and investment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexandre Deslongchamps in Ottawa at adeslongcham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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