Our Conservative government is committed to creating the right conditions for Canadian businesses to compete globally. Canada's Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China, the world's second largest economy, will provide stronger protection for Canadians investing in China and create jobs and economic growth at home.
It establishes a clear set of rules for investments, and to resolve disputes.
Canadian businesses looking to set up in China can't be treated less favourably than any other foreign company, under the agreement. Once an investment is made, a Canadian business cannot be treated less favourably than any other business, including Chinese.
The agreement protects investors against government expropriation, except under strict conditions, and then only with fair compensation. The FIPA also ensures all investment disputes are resolved under international arbitration, ensuring that adjudications are independent and fair. Canadian investors in China will no longer have to rely on the Chinese legal system to resolve disputes.
Ours is the first bilateral investment agreement that China has signed which expressly includes language on transparency of dispute settlement proceedings. It is Canada's long-standing policy that all dispute resolution should be open to the public and that the submissions by the parties be made available to the public.
Any decision emanating from dispute resolution would be made public.
The agreement does not restrict Canada's ability to regulate and legislate in areas such as the environment, culture, safety, health, and conservation. Restrictions will preserve Canada's current ability to review foreign investments under the Investment Canada Act and that our national security is not compromised. Under this treaty, Chinese investors in Canada must obey all of the laws and regulations of Canada, just as any Canadian must.
In short, the Canada-China FIPA is similar to the 24 other investment treaties Canada has signed with key trade and investment partners. We join countries such as New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Japan, who have all signed similar or less favourable investment treaties with China.
Our government has brought greater transparency to the treaty review process. Under the previous Liberal government, there was no formal treaty-tabling policy. Our government in 2008 introduced a formal policy that requires international treaties, before they are ratified, to be tabled in the House for 21 sitting days, during which MPs and the public have an opportunity to review the treaty.
The Canada-China FIPA was tabled on Sept. 26, prior to its formal ratification. Since then, opposition parties have been given four "opposition days" to debate issues of their own choosing. Curiously, the NDP and Liberal Party have chosen not to do so.
We've been clear with the Chinese government that Canada wants to continue to expand its commercial relationship with China, but only in a way that produces clear benefits for both sides.
By establishing clear rules with greater protection against discriminatory and arbitrary practices, this FIPA will allow Canadians to invest in China with greater confidence.
Randy Kamp, MP, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission
@ Copyright 2013