Take the "Gone Fishing" sign down from the window. Canada is open for business again.
A week after the Harper government blocked BHP Billiton's bid for Potash Corp., Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Wednesday in a press release that China's government has cleared that way for some of the country's investors to plow as much money as they want into Canada.
China maintains something called the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor Program, which determines which money managers get to invest outside China, and where. China's banking, securities and insurance regulators all must agree before the institutions and investors they regulate can invest abroad. On Wednesday, Mr. Flaherty said that the insurance regulator gave the green light to Canada, matching earlier decisions by the banking and securities authorities.
Chinese insurance companies have more than $106-billion to invest, Finance said in a press release.
For Mr. Flaherty, the agreement represents a victory won through leg work and face time. Over the last couple of years, the Harper government has taken a totally different approach with China, dropping the public complaints about the country's human rights record, and instead focusing on building trade-and-investment links.
"When I was there in January 2007, we had some discussions about some issues, and there was not a lot of progress right after that," Mr. Flaherty said in an interview after arriving in Seoul for the Group of 20 Summit. "This year has been quite different…It is indicative of an increasingly positive relationship."
And, Mr. Minister, what is the, er, net benefit to Canada?
"More investment," Mr. Flaherty said. "We are open for investment, despite that one particular investment that was disallowed."