OTTAWA, ON (May 24, 2018): The federal government has just announced it is blocking the Chinese state-owned enterprise CCCI’s takeover bid of Aecon Group on national security grounds.
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has been the leader in Canada in raising tough questions about the ambitions of the Chinese regime and the risk of foreign investment by Chinese state-owned enterprises in Canada, including the Aecon deal.
Leading thinkers such as MLI Munk Senior Fellows Duanjie Chen and Shuvaloy Majumdar, former head of CSIS Ward Elcock, and former National Security Advisor Richard Fadden have argued on MLI’s platforms that Chinese SOEs are not private economic actors responding to market incentives, but agents and representatives of the Chinese state under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.
“These SOEs engage in activities that are contrary to Canada's interests and policies,” said MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley. “This includes CCCI, which among other things was a key player in the construction of militarised islands in disputed waters in the South China Sea.”
Several years ago, MLI helped to inform the government’s actions on the China and National Offshore Oil Company’s (CNOOC) proposed takeover of Nexen with public commentary and a high-level panel event.
Today, we have been at the forefront of arguing that CCCI’s takeover bid for Aecon posed a national security risk and needed to be rejected. In April 2018, MLI held a panel event that brought together leading thinkers on the economic and security implications of closer ties with China. Speakers, including Chen and Elcock, as well as professor Charles Burton, were unanimous in their concern over the CCCI-Aecon deal. The event generated significant media attention.
“The CCCI-Aecon deal is not a plain commercial case but an integral part of China’s national strategy,” noted Chen in a recent commentary on this subject.
“It was for this reason that we successfully made the case for limiting Chinese takeovers in the natural resource sector during the debate over the Nexen transaction,” said Crowley. “We have continued to express these national security concerns as China has shifted its focus to acquisitions in other strategic sectors.”
“The decision taken by the Canadian government to kill the Aecon takeover is laudable,” said Majumdar. “The rule of law is a cornerstone for economic prosperity at home and abroad.”
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the leading independent federal public policy think tank in Ottawa.
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