Business / Economy

Chinese investments continue to grow in Canada

By Li Jiabao (China Daily) Updated: 2012-04-19 10:24

China's investment in Canada is likely to increase at a "record" pace in the near term, building on fast expansion in recent years, the Canada China Business Council said on Wednesday.

"Investments from China will maintain fast growth this year and the near future would see a record growth speed," Sarah Kutulakos, executive director of the CCBC, told China Daily.

A strong financial system, political stability and rich natural resources, including oil sands, iron ore and nickel, make Canada more attractive to Chinese investors, she said.

"Canada welcomes Chinese investments, especially in the industries of energy, minerals, oil sands and liquefied natural gas, as the investments create jobs and a vibrant Canadian economy and promote technology development," she said.

Lin Ning, deputy director-general of the economic information department of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said that China's investments in Canada will maintain rapid growth because the two economies share strong complements in economic structures.

China has become the second-largest trade partner of Canada and the seventh-largest source country of investment. China's investments in Canada surpassed $20 billion in 2011, according to Lin.

China's investments in Canada are concentrated in the fields of energy, mineral resources, agriculture, high-tech and biopharmacy. Canada's advantages in these fields offer great cooperation opportunities for Chinese companies, according to Gary Lee, first secretary of Canada's embassy in China.

"We see optimistic prospects for investment in the Canadian mining sectors in the long term because emerging markets, especially China have strong demand for metal and mineral products," said Chen Xianda, vice-president and secretary-general of the China Mining Association.

Resources are not the sole goal for Chinese investors in Canada, which is also the gateway to tap the North America market with the help of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Kutulakos said.

"Canada has advanced technology in new material, new energy and high-tech, which are the key industries China plans to develop during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).

"Cooperation between Chinese and Canadian companies can jointly explore emerging markets, including China," she said.

China and Canada finished negotiations on the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to China in February. The agreement will urge local governments to provide more support for foreign investment.

As investments in Canada increase, Chinese investors are being urged to learn how to integrate into the local business culture.

"The biggest challenge for Chinese companies in Canada is to get accustomed to mainstream values, including contributions to corporate social responsibility and public welfare," said Kutulakos.

Iain Gayton, senior manager of the environmental services group of Hatch Ltd, a Canadian service provider in the mining, metallurgical, energy and infrastructure industries, added that the unique challenge for investing in Canada is the aboriginal communities.

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