Calgary – China is insisting Canada not let local politics weigh on that government’s decision to approve a proposed Chinese government buyout of Calgary-based Nexen Inc.
China’s ambassador bluntly warned Canada’s leaders not to let domestic politics interfere with the Chinese state-owned company’s $15.1 billion take-over of Nexen, according to a Reuters report.
“Business is business. It should not be politicized,” Ambassador Zhang Junsai said in an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.
“If we politicize all this, then we can’t do business,” he added, referring to the Canadian Industry Ministry’s review of CNOOC Ltd’s proposal to buy the Canadian oil and gas producer.
The acquisition would mark the first time the ownership of a large Canadian energy producer has been acquired by a Chinese state-owned company.
China frequently politicizes business within its borders. Many Canadians say China has unfairly limited Canadian companies from investing in that country. China’s politicization of business is stirring debate in Canada on whether to approve CNOOC’s bid for Nexen.
“Canada wants to continue to expand its relationship with China, but we want to see it expand in a way that produces clear benefits for both sides,” spokesman Rudy Husny said in an emailed statement. “Minister Fast will continue this discussion when he meets with his counterpart tomorrow in Vancouver.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to take Canada away from depending on the U.S. as its largest export economy and main trade partner.
However, even though promoting foreign investment in the Canadian oil and gas industry is Harper’s goal, the CNOOC move has not set well with some cabinet members who are concerned about allowing a Chinese state-owned enterprise to take over major Canadian assets in the country.
Meanwhile, Zhang has assured Canadian leaders their fears over China’s intentions are unfounded. “We are not coming to control your resources,” he said.