Tuesday, February 4, 2020

China/Canada Agreement at the centre is "National Security"

Canada-China Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments .... Agreement

The foreign investment protection agreement between Canada and China is a Bilateral Investment Treaty which came into force on 1 October 2014,[1] known in the DFAIT as the Canada-China Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments Agreement (CCPRPIA).[2] It provides important protections for Chinese and Canadians investing in the other country, and is a cornerstone of China's foreign fusion policy.


The CCPRPIA is noteworthy in that it provides important safeguards to Canadian investors in the Chinese economy, and it is one of China's first investment treaties with such comprehensive dispute settlement provisions.[3] As per Article 22 of the CCPRPIA, investors may submit claims either to UNCITRAL or to ICSID. Additionally, the CCPRPIA is the first of China's investment treaties to provide for full post-establishment National Treatment (subject to any regulations and practices which were already in place, as per Article 8.2(a)(i)). China's investment agreement with Seychelles included full post-establishment national treatment prior to the CCPRPIA, but it has not yet entered into force.[4]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

The Harper government held out on finalizing the text and ratifying the agreement due to diplomatic differences and concerns about Chinese human rights abuses.[5] Negotiations lasted around 20 years. Criticism was especially high after the treaty was signed in 2012 and ratified by Cabinet in October 2014, because CCPRPIA negotiations had been secretive and were not released until after the Harper government fell, and because some terms were considered unfavourable to Canadian investors and citizens.[6]
Controversy mainly centred around the CCPRPIA's provisions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement.[7] Article 15 provides that investors of one country are permitted to sue the government of the other county through an international tribunal; however, many consider the risk of such lawsuits arising to be relatively higher for Canada because Chinese foreign direct investment in Canada in 2015 was roughly three times the amount of Canadian investment in China.[8]
Some commentators have also criticized the provision for national treatment in Article 6 because the CCPRPIA did not provide for pre-establishment national treatment (a right of entry into the Canadian or Chinese markets for investors of the other country). This could disproportionately favour Chinese investors in Canada because China places more onerous requirements on foreign investors for the registration and approval of new enterprises than does Canada,[9] and because government screening in China involves numerous levels of bureaucracy for new companies.[10]

Impact of the CCPRPIA[edit]

The CCPRPIA has been in force since October 1, 2014. In Canada, there appears to be little public knowledge of the CCPRPIA, even among investors; however, the agreement does provide considerable certainty for those investors who are familiar with it.[11]
The CCPRPIA was mentioned by Elizabeth May in the second French leadership debate of the 2019 Canadian federal election on 10 October.


The CCPRPIA was known to journalists who wrote about the document prior to its disclosure by Stéphane Dion in November 2016 as the FIPA or FIPPA, and a news database search under that acronym will be more fruitful over the period before the Harper government exploded.[1]


  1. Jump up to:a b "FIPA agreement with China: What's really in it for Canada?". CBC. 19 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People's Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments". Foreign Affairs Canada. 2016-11-24. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  3. ^ Riyaz Dattu; Eric Morgan. "Landmark Canada-China Investment Treaty Comes Into Force"Osler. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  4. ^ Zhang, Sheng; Gallagher, Norah; Shan, Wenhua (2012). "National Treatment for Foreign Investment in China: A Changing Landscape". Foreign Investment Law Journal27 (1): 136.
  5. ^ Fekete, Jason (8 February 2012). "Canada, China Tighten Trade Ties". Financial Post. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  6. ^ May, Elizabeth. "Elizabeth May: Canada-China Agreement is a Threat to Canada's Sovereignty"Elizabeth May MP. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  7. ^ Walker, Lauren (15 September 2014). "New Treaty Allows China to Sue Canada to Change its Laws". Newsweek. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  8. ^ van Harten, Gus (2015). Sold Down the Yangtze: Canada's Lopsided Investment Deal with China. Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, Ltd. p. 23.
  9. ^ Huang, Jie (2015). "Challenges and Solutions for the China-US BIT Negotiations: Insights from the Recent Development of FTZs in China"Journal of International Economic Law18. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  10. ^ van Harten, Gus (2015). Sold Down the Yangtze: Canada's Lopsided Investment Deal with China. Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, Ltd. pp. 12 and 48.
  11. ^ Kutulakos, Sarah; Dobson, Dr. Wendy; Hejazi, Dr. Walid; Stratulativ, Daniela (25 April 2017). "Canada China Business Survey 2016". Canada China Business Council Rotman Institute for International Business: 6.

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