Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he raised concerns about trade and investment imbalances in a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).
The two leaders did not discuss CNOOC Ltd’s (中國海洋石油) US$15.1 billion takeover of Calgary-based oil and gas producer Nexen Inc when they met, Harper said yesterday at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, Russia. Canada is reviewing the bid under the country’s foreign-takeover law.
“The Chinese side did not raise the issue of the Nexen takeover,” Harper said. “I think they understand that that is subject to a Canadian legal process on which, as prime minister, I’m severely restricted on my ability to comment.”
Harper raised “issues of the relative flows of our trade and investment between Canada and China and the significant imbalance that exists in both,” he said. “We had a good and robust discussion on that question.”
With 99 percent of oil exports going to the US, Canada’s trade deficit with China reached a record C$31.7 billion (US$32.4 billion) last year, according to Statistics Canada. Canadian direct investment in China was C$4.5 billion last year, less than 1 percent of total Canadian investment abroad, and less than half the level of investment in Canada by Chinese firms, Statistics Canada data show.
Harper and Hu signed an agreement yesterday to protect foreign investors in their respective countries. Both countries must still ratify the agreement.