Nexen- CNOOC Deal: MPs Express Concern

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | January 31, 2013 9:55 PM EST

Three Conservative MPs have written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister Christian Paradis, asking them to raise concerns about the controversial takeover of the Canada-based global oil and gas company Nexen by a Chinese state-run company, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). 

A month after the Canadian prime minister formally approved the Nexen-CNOOC deal, CBC News reported on Tuesday that documents obtained by the news organization reveal strong opposition to the $15.1 billion deal from key industry people and the Conservative backbenches. CBC News didn't give an open link to the documents.

In a letter dated August 13 2012, Ontario MP Harold Albrecht  urged Industry Minister to register "philosophical and practical opposition" to the takeover by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. 

 "As a conservative, I believe in free and fair trade, and a limited role for governments in the economy," said Harold Albrecht in the letter,  "To allow the China National Offshore Oil Corporation to purchase Nexen would not demonstrate examples of free trade or fair trade."

According to CBC News, the Conservative MP warned his government that there was no guaranteed access to Chinese markets.

"Worse, this is an example of the most unfair trade possible: expecting job-creating entrepreneurs to compete against the full resources of a global superpower that appears able to flout the disciplines of currency markets and the most basic standards of human rights," CBC News quoted the MP as saying.

In a statement in its official website, the Nexen Company Sunday announced that the closing of CNOOC's takeover of the Canadian oil and gas producer was delayed by another 30 days to March 2, 2013.

According to the company, authorities in the UK, the European Union and China have already approved the deal, and are waiting for the Washington to approve. Nexen owns significant assets in the Gulf of Mexico and the purchase must also be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

In the same month, British Columbia MP Russ Hiebert wrote to Harper saying Canada must have the ability to press for human rights reforms in China.

"I am concerned that our trading and investing relationship with China is one-sided and that an investment proposal of a similar magnitude and nature by a Canadian company in China would simply not be welcomed by the Chinese," said Russ Hiebert, signaling his concern over the deteriorating human rights situations in China.

Following Harper's approval, hundreds of Tibetans and Chinese human rights activists across Canada staged protests last December urging the Canadian government to value human rights over business with the People's Republic of China.

"It is my belief that Canadian laws must prevail, and that if we were to allow a state-owned company of a foreign nation that brutally represses its own citizens to buy a strategic asset here, we would be setting a very dangerous precedent," wrote Conservative MP Lavar Payne, according to the CBC News.

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