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Title: Canada's FIPA with China: An Analysis of the Opposition to the Agreement
Authors: Khanal, Mukesh
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Citation: Khanal, Mukesh. (2015). Canada's FIPA with China: An Analysis of the Opposition to the Agreement ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Abstract: On October 1, 2014, Canada brought into force its Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China. Although the FIPA has various trade-related obligations, it is primarily an investment protection agreement aimed at ensuring Canadian investors in China and Chinese investors in Canada are treated the same as any domestic or other foreign investors by the two respective host governments. There is a near-unanimous consensus among researchers that inward and outward Foreign Direct Investment flows benefit all nations that engage in such activities. Therefore, this FIPA, which supposedly encourages greater Chinese investments in Canada, should be good news. However, the agreement has received a strong opposition since its signing in September 2012. Critics oppose the agreement for three main reasons. First, they do not believe the agreement is transparent. Disputes can be resolved in secret through FIPA arbitration tribunals, and case details are not proactively made public. Second, critics point to the huge losses Canada has incurred in NAFTA tribunals as evidence that the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision in the FIPA could result in similar huge losses through settlements, essentially paid by Canadian taxpayers’ dollars. Finally, critics argue that Canadian investors in China will not get fair judgments because the FIPA does not allow them to file a lawsuit in Chinese courts while Chinese investors in Canada can approach Canadian courts to resolve their disputes. In this paper, the author looks into the historical trade and investment relationships between China and Canada to analyze the veracity of the opposition’s claims about the FIPA. While the claims have some merit, the issues are not black and white. It is historical knowledge that some flexibility is needed to engage with China. Canadian firms in China often state their investments as strategic, long term, and filled with potential rather than opportunistic, short term, and for quick profitability. It is also noted that since coming out of self-isolation, China has made significant changes in order to modernize its economy. That process still continues. The author concludes that despite shortcomings, Canada’s FIPA with China builds on their historical political and economic relationship. Although the agreement is less-than-ideal, it still provides more protection to Canadian investors in China than was previously available. Finally, it is also in Canada’s interest to ensure that China—now the world’s largest economy and with the world’s largest reserve of foreign currency—continues to see Canada as a bright investment destination. Canada’s FIPA with China is an unfinished document. Canada should continue to engage China while evolving and reforming the agreement.
Appears in Collections:Master of Public Policy Capstone Projects

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