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Chinese investment: How Canada compares

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COMMENTS

13 April 2010 08:33

Jean Michel Montsion is a Research Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Australians and Canadians have similar reservations about Chinese government money coming to their respective countries.

A recently released national survey by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada found less than one in five Canadians (18%) would support a Chinese state enterprise taking over a Canadian company. This is similar to Australian attitudes towards Chinese government-linked capital in their country, as discovered by the Lowy Institute in 2008.

In the Canadian case, results on indirect foreign control are in stark contrast to the response on closer investment ties to Asia, as 59% of respondents believe Canada would benefit from more Asian investment and 65% think the Canadian Government should promote greater Canadian investment in Asia.

It is to be expected that Canadians dislike more investment from a state-owned company than closer investment ties, broadly defined.

However, the Foundation's poll reveals that in this context, perceptions towards China and other Asian countries are significantly less favourable than the UK and US. In contrast to the respondents' reactions to Chinese state enterprises, 52% of Canadians would accept a British Government-backed investment in their country and only 39% would oppose such endeavor.

This country-based difference in perception about indirect foreign control is at odds with developments in the world economy. Canada, like Australia, is a resource country developing a new role in the reshaping of global production and consumption chains. The country's new competitive advantage is to be an integrating force between Asian and Western countries.

The 2009 Lowy Institute China Poll reveals that Chinese perceptions towards a Canadian Government-backed investment are quite favourable. Canada has to adapt to this global shift and take advantage of such good perceptions, starting with the improvement of domestic perceptions towards Asian investment, notably from China.

Photo by Flickr user Corinna A. Carlson, used under a Creative Commons license.

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