Investments in Canadian assets by authoritarian states should trigger national security review: Commons committee – by Anja Karadeglija (National Post- March 30, 2022)

The industry minister’s decision not to launch a formal national security review over the sale of Neo-Lithium to China led to controversy in January

Canada should launch a full security review for every investment by a state-owned company from an “authoritarian state,” a parliamentary committee says.

On Tuesday, the House of Commons industry committee released its report on the acquisition of Canadian-owned mining company Neo-Lithium by a Chinese enterprise. It said “all investments by state-owned enterprises from authoritarian states” meet the Investment Canada Act’s threshold of potentially being “injurious to national security.”

The committee recommended that the industry minister invoke Section 25.3 of the act — launching a formal national security review — in “all such cases.”

The choice of Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne not to do so over the sale of Neo-Lithium led to controversy in January. Neo-Lithium, which has a lithium mine in Argentina, announced it would be acquired by the Zijin Mining Group in October 2021 for $960 million. The deal closed on Jan. 26.

Lithium is classified as a critical mineral by the Canadian government. It’s significant because it’s used in batteries, which is increasingly important globally as industries such as automakers move toward electrification.

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