Is Canada Less Racist-Protectionist Than the US?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 11/20/2012 05:28:00 AM
It appears so. Recently, I posted on China's government-owned energy firm CNOOC attempting to buy Canada's Nexen and the political sensitivities that go with it. CNOOC is the same firm American lawmakers effectively discouraged from buying relatively pipsqueak American producer Unocal back in 2005 over dubious "national security" grounds. Just as you would expect, our Canadian friends appear to be more welcoming of the spirit of free trade in allowing the Chinese to buy Nexen.

Undoubtedly, there have been delays over largely the same objections, but the Canadians appear to be less racist-protectionist overall. However the latest word from the ever-popular "sources" is that the acquisition will be allowed to go through with the qualification that Canadian management and board representation remain substantial:
Negotiators for the Canadian government adopted many of the conditions requested by Alberta Premier Alison Redford last month, which include guarantees that at least 50 percent of Nexen’s board and management positions be held by Canadians, the two people said on condition they not be identified because negotiations are confidential...

Recent statements from Harper and federal cabinet ministers provide “favorable indications” Cnooc’s takeover of Nexen will soon be approved, as well as the separate bid the government is reviewing by Malaysia’s state-owned energy company for Calgary- based Progress Energy Resources Corp. (PRQ), said Kyle Preston, an oil and gas analyst at National Bank Financial Group in Calgary.

“I think we’re close,” [energy analyst Kyle] Preston said in a phone interview yesterday. “The government is looking at both the Cnooc-Nexen and the Progress-Petronas deals, which I think gives the appearance they’d like to make a decision on both at the same time and outline what the new framework is going to be for this net benefit test.”
The "net benefit test" simply holds that acquisition of  a Canadian firm will result in more benefits to the country than if foreign investment is shunned. I believe it's a fair criteria--and certainly one you would subscribe to if you believe in classic liberal principles about the benefits of trade and investment. Further, unlike certain racist-protectionist-isolationists, the Canadians have made it a priority to attract more foreign investment in the energy sector:
The Canadian government is reviewing the sale of Nexen under the country’s foreign-takeover law, which specifies transactions need to have a “net benefit” to the country in order to win approval. Canada extended its review of the deal for a second time on Nov. 2, setting the deadline to Dec. 10.
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called it a national priority to sell more of his country’s energy resources to Asia, he has said the Nexen sale raises “difficult policy questions” and the government will release a new policy framework on foreign investment when it completes the review of the Nexen takeover.
Why can't America be more like Canada--a progressive and prosperous place? The world would be so much better off if such were the case instead of having all these American hypocrites running the show. Be warned though: the archetypal racist-protectionist-isolationist Chuck Schumer (D-NY/Hades) says he will butt into this deal since Nexen also has US-based production facilities.

Americans sticking their noses into other people's business knows no bounds.