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Canada’s Opportunity to Attract Foreign Investment is Now

19 December 2016

Canada’s Opportunity to Attract Foreign Investment is Now
Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, stated that a window of opportunity is now available to attract foreign investment, and Canada should seize that opportunity.

President-elect Donald Trump swore that he would end the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement currently with Canada and Pacific Rim countries. In the meantime, Canada has been in negotiations with the European Union to form a trade pact. However, the pact still needs to undergo authorization from the European government prior to coming into force. When and if the arrangement is ratified, Canada will then have trade agreements that cover over half of the world’s economy. Freeland said that finalizing this deal would make Canada a “magnet for foreign investment”.

Ottawa is in the process of creating an agency designed to boost foreign investment in Canada.  This agency will facilitate the investment process for foreigners, contrary to the U.S. leaning towards a protectionist approach to their economy. The investment agency is scheduled to begin operations by December 2017 and will provide a “concierge service” to foreign nationals interested in investing in Canada. This service will be a one-stop shop for investors where they can get all the information required for investment. The creation of this agency will serve to eliminate the many layers of bureaucracy faced by foreign companies that are considering investing in Canada.

The investment agency in Ottawa is but one of several measures who’s aim is to strengthen Canadian economy, which has been trying to recover since the downturn in the price of oil. The economic growth forecast by Canada’s central bank has dropped to only 1.1% this year and 2% the next year.

Canada must start relying less on U.S. investors and more on investors from Europe and Asia, according to the federal government’s expert panel on economic growth, consisting of big institutional investors. In addition, the panel indicates its desire to diversify investments from the current mining and manufacturing sectors to other sectors including agriculture, technology, and health. Also recommended by the panel is that Canada boost immigration by 50% which will require billions of dollars in federal funds to help lure major international investors.

While the U.S. and other countries are applying a conservative and protectionist economic policy, Canada is opening its doors even wider. Freeland said, “We believe that now is a tremendous moment to go out and pitch Canada as the best place in the world for foreign investment.”

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