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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Saskatchewan

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD LOOK AT THE “NATIONAL INTEREST” TEST APPLIED IN AUSTRALIA - HOME OF BHP BILLITON

Premier Brad Wall today said the federal government should consider Australia's rules for reviewing foreign investment while protecting the country's interests.

Under Australia's foreign investment policy, an investment must be in the "national interest" in order to be approved. In assessing "national interest," the Australian government considers the following:

  • Investment in enterprises that are large employers or that have significant market share may raise more sensitivities than investments in smaller enterprises;
  • The government considers whether a proposed investment may result in an investor gaining control over market pricing and production of a good or service in Australia;
  • A particular concern is the extent to which an investment may allow an investor to control the global supply of a product or services; and
  • The government considers the impact of a foreign investment proposal on Australian tax revenues.
    (Source: Australia's Foreign Investment Review Policy from the Foreign Investment Review Board website: http://www.firb.gov.au/content/_downloads/Australia's_Foreign_Investment_Policy_June_2010.pdf)

Wall said these considerations would all apply if 50 per cent of the world's potash was situated in Australia and Australia's largest potash producer was subject to a foreign takeover.

"The Australian foreign investment review process spells out some of the very same concerns we have been using to assess the BHP Billiton takeover bid here in Saskatchewan, and Australia has one of the strongest investment climates in the world," Wall said.

"So these are hardly the concerns of a ‘banana republic' as some have suggested. These are legitimate issues that are considered by Australia's national government and that should be considered by Canada's national government.

"Shouldn't Canada's review process be at least as strong as Australia's, especially when we hear the former Chair of BHP Billiton calling Canada a ‘branch office?'" Wall asked.

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For more information, contact:

Kathy Young
Executive Council
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0425
Email: kathy.young@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-526-8927

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