Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, bucking a global trend toward greater protectionism, will loosen foreign takeover rules for more than 50 Canadian publicly traded companies next year, including those in mining, oil and marijuana production.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced this week Canada would raise the threshold for automatic government review of acquisitions to C$1 billion ($747 million) in enterprise value in 2017, rather than 2019 as previously scheduled. The hike from the current C$600 million will be enacted through legislation, although the timing hasn’t been set. companies that fall under the new threshold range from miner Dominion Diamond Corp. to marijuana producer Canopy Growth Corp.
The changes are the latest border-opening steps by Trudeau, who has emerged as a champion of expanding trade and globalization at a time when protectionism has fueled the rise of Donald Trump, support for Brexit and opposition to trade pacts — such as Canada’s with the European Union, signed Oct. 30 after being nearly derailed.
Trudeau has also raised his intake of refugees, proposed loosening immigration rules for skilled workers and traveled abroad regularly to push for more investment in Canada.
The investment changes are “really to indicate that Canada is open to business and we’re kind of jump-starting things by encouraging people to come in here without the burden of having to get an approval like that,” said Peter Glossop, a foreign investment lawyer and partner with law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto.
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