Foreign Investment Review Regimes: How Canada Stacks Up

The Conference Board of Canada, 48 pages, April 22, 2008
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Comparing Canada with peer countries reveals that Canada's foreign investment screening practices are less strict than commonly believed, but also less consistent. Canada needs clearer, more coherent FDI policies.

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Foreign Investment Review Regimes: How Canada Stacks Up compares Canada's foreign investor screening policies and practices with those of its peers. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada has among the world's most restrictive regulatory barriers to foreign investment. But these calculations take into account overt, explicit foreign investment screening requirements, while ignoring opaque barriers such as political interference and state-owned enterprises. When both implicit and explicit barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI) are considered, Canada is no less restrictive than France, Germany, and Italy—which appear less open to FDI than their OECD rankings suggest. But while more transparent, Canada's regime is a confusing mix of protectionism and openness that seems to work at cross purposes. Policy-makers must bring greater coherence to the country's foreign policy review regime or risk putting Canada at a competitive disadvantage to jurisdictions with clear FDI objectives.

This report was produced by the Conference Board’s International Trade and Investment Centre that examines the implications of global economic dynamics for Canadian business and governments leaders. More on the Centre’s research, events, and membership

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