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Market Chatter: Harper Says Could Block Other Foreign Investments

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in some of his toughest remarks on foreign investment yet, signaled a willingness to block foreign purchases of Canadian companies if other countries are not open to Canadian investment, Reuters reported over the weekend.

Speaking on the eve of a trip to India and other parts of Asia, Harper said in an interview published in Saturday's Postmedia newspapers that Canada as a general rule welcomes foreign investment.

"The real issue, as we go to places like India, and I think that Canadians recognize what the real issue is, not the openness of Canada to foreign investment, because Canada is very open," he said. "The real issue is, are we going to get that reciprocal openness in other countries? And that's the real challenge. You know, we could block a whole lot more investments than we are and be still one of the most open regimes in the world."

Harper's November 3-11 trip to India, the Philippines and Hong Kong comes against the backdrop of two major bids by Asian state-owned enterprises to buy Canadian energy firms.

The prime minister has said his government would lay out a general framework when it decides on these bids, and this will be "fairly soon," but it is increasingly clear that reciprocity will figure prominently in the guidelines.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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