Friday, January 20, 2017
A Rule of Reason for Inward FDI: Integrating Canadian Foreign Investment Review and Competition Policy
Grant Bishop, University of Toronto - Faculty of Law imagines A Rule of Reason for Inward FDI: Integrating Canadian Foreign Investment Review and Competition Policy.
ABSTRACT: The Investment Canada Act (ICA) needs an overhaul. This reform must include a paradigm shift in thinking to a much less restrictive view about the benefits of foreign direct investment in Canada. Currently, the ICA operates under the presumption that foreign firms behave detrimentally to the Canadian economy: foreign acquirers are required to show “net benefit” to Canada and may need to make onerous commitments for maintaining output or employment. This attitude, a holdover from the ICA’s predecessor, the Foreign Investment Review Agency, has created an atmosphere which fosters protectionism and relies on economically incoherent factors to assess the merit of proposed transactions. It is time to shed that archaic attitude and adopt a more reasoned perspective.
Rather than requiring each proposed transaction to provide proof for the specific benefit to Canada, the ICA should assume that foreign acquisitions benefit Canada unless there is proof to the contrary. A more welcoming, balanced and rational perspective would be that foreign acquisitions actually improve the productivity of Canadian companies and contribute to the well-being of Canada’s economy.