Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said it will be “some time yet” before his government rules on takeovers in Canada by China’s Cnooc Ltd. and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. as it reviews its foreign investor rules.
Asked if the issue had been raised at a meeting in Mexico City of finance ministers and central bankers, Flaherty said he held some discussions with colleagues about the Canadian government’s efforts to write up new regulations to deal with investments by state-owned companies.
“As you know these transactions that are proposed in Canada are subject to review and are being reviewed carefully now and there will be decisions but it will be some time yet before decisions are made,” Flaherty told reporters in Mexico following a meeting of G-20 officials. “It’s very important in terms of the long-term policy of the government of Canada that we get this right.”
Canada extended its review of Beijing-based Cnooc’s $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen for a second time on Nov. 2, re-setting the deadline to Dec. 10 and citing the need for a thorough review. The country blocked a C$5.2 billion bid by Malaysian state-run oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd. for Calgary-based Progress Energy Resources Corp. on Oct. 19.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he would clarify Canada’s foreign investment rules in a “policy framework” to be released when the government decides on the Cnooc’s bid -- the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.
Flaherty said he spoke to some G-20 colleagues from countries that have had similar experiences, without specifying officials. Flaherty had a meeting with Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan in Mexico City on Nov. 4.
“Other countries have had experience in the area in which we’re involved right now,” Flaherty said. “I listened and asked some questions about what their experiences have been.”
“I had actually some very good discussions with some of them about how they approached the issue and how they managed it and it’s complex,” he said.