TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers union (USW) is demanding a full public review of a sweeping Foreign Investment Protection Agreement with China, saying it risks giving Chinese interests enormous sway in Canadian resource industries.
"It is completely unacceptable that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is refusing to allow any public hearings or parliamentary process," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director. "It's time for Canadians to speak up and tell him to stop this deal."
The agreement, which only became public in September, is scheduled to become final by the end of October. Unlike normal trade treaties, it does not require a debate in Parliament, and has so far attracted little public attention.
Experts in the field of international trade arbitration, however, say the investment agreement could have widespread implications, potentially allowing even minority interests by Chinese investors to file lawsuits against Canada that would be heard in secret by private arbitrators.
Those lawsuits could challenge any provisions of federal or provincial law or regulation that allegedly limited the potential profits of the Chinese investor.
"This threat is even more serious as China's current bid for the Canadian oil company Nexen looks like just the beginning of a major surge of Chinese investment in our resource industries," Neumann said. "The federal government must take the time to listen to Canadians, and send this deal back to the drawing board."
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, [email protected]