Canada to delay changes on foreign investment rules

Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:10pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada will hold off on announcing any changes to foreign investment rules until a parliamentary committee completes a review next year, the government said on Wednesday.

Industry Minister Tony Clement had pledged to clarify the regulations this year in response to the federal government's decision to block BHP Billiton's $39 billion bid to acquire Canadian fertilizer giant Potash Corp.

"Rather than have an interim discussion and then have another discussion in the new year, I think it is better to have just one discussion in the new year," said Clement, while speaking with the media in Ottawa.

"I would like to see changes and I think the prime minister would like to see some as well," said Clement, adding that he hopes the changes will give his ministry more power and authority to talk about proposed acquisitions by foreign entities.

Clement has said the Investment Canada Act, the legislation requiring Ottawa to review such deals, limits the government's ability to divulge details of negotiations with potential acquirers and the commitments they make to win approval.

Canada has so far blocked only two deals under the provisions of the act, which has been in place for over two decades. Parliament recently voted to have a committee review its provisions, following Clement's decision to block BHP's bid.

($1= $1.004 Canadian)

(Reporting by Euan Rocha)