In May 2011, the China Institute organized the very first forum on the Public Policy Dimensions of Chinese Investment in Canada at the University of Alberta's Calgary Centre. The forum has now become a flagship event of the CIUA. This high-level event has brought us many prominent speakers, including the Chinese Ambassador to Canada Zhang Junsai (2012), the founding partner of the Rhodium Group Daniel Rosen (2013), the Canadian Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques (2014) and Alberta's Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations Cal Dallas (2014).
The annual forum, usually held during the first week of May, closely monitors the trends in Chinese investment in Canada and designs topics to address specific issues that have risen during the particular year.
Since 2010, we witnessed a tremendous growth in the flows of Chinese investment in Canada. In 2011 and 2012, we continued to see the momentum as Chinese corporate and state institutions continue to expand their holdings in Canada. In December 2012, CNOOC completed its $15.1-billion (U.S.) takeover of the Calgary-headquartered energy producer, consummating the single largest foreign takeover by a Chinese company after a long review by the federal government. However, following the Nexen deal, we experienced a fall-off in Chinese investment flows in 2013. In 2014, we begin to see some hopeful signs that Chinese investment in Canada will regain some momentum.
On May 2, 2014 in Calgary, the China Institute of the University of Alberta convened some 90 business, government, and academic representatives from Canada and China at its 4th annual National Chinese Investment Forum.
The Forum featured keynotes from the Honourable Cal Dallas, Alberta’s Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations and Canada’s Ambassador to China, Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques.
Minister Dallas brought a strong message that Alberta is “open to business” and to China’s investment in particular - a much-needed source of capital for energy sector projects, and one driving long term linkages with China, spurring infrastructure development, and industrial spin-offs upstream and downstream. From his vantage in Beijing, Ambassador Saint-Jacques conveyed that Canada remains a priority with the Chinese government and one favourably viewed among investors. The fall-off in flows following the Nexen deal had coincided with a tough review by the new Chinese leadership on the prudence of all investments abroad by State-owned Enterprises (SOEs). It did not reflect a loss of confidence in Canada. Estimates of the current stock of Chinese investment in Canada ranged from $38-$50 billion.
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prepared by CIUA Senior Fellow Ron MacIntosh