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Canada Ends BHP Review as Potash Offer Withdrawn

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement, who earlier this month rejected BHP Billiton Ltd.’s offer for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and gave 30 days for an appeal, said he will end his review now that the company has withdrawn its bid.

BHP showed “good faith and integrity throughout the process” Clement said in a statement from Ottawa today, adding that the government recognizes “there may be ways to improve the review process.” He also said that foreign investment is good for Canada and the global economy.

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

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier today his government plans to provide “guidance” to investors on what kinds of foreign takeovers it will tolerate. Harper spoke to reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Yokohama, Japan, said he will outline the policy once a 30-day appeal process for BHP ends. Harper this week also attended a summit of Group of 20 leaders in Seoul, where he held bilateral talks with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

“When the period expires, the government will be in a position not only to give reasons for the decision but to give broader guidance to the investment community on the kind of foreign investment it is and is not seeking within Canada,” Harper said.

Kathy Young, a spokeswoman for Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, didn’t immediately respond to call from Bloomberg outside of normal office hours.

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