Foreign ownership of Canada’s economy fell precipitously in recent years, according to government data.
According to an October 23 Statistics Canada report, Corporations Returns Act, 2021, said the foreign-controlled share of Canadian assets declined from 15.1% to 14.9% between 2020 and 2021. That amounts to $2.4 trillion in assets.
Eight countries account for 87.3% of all foreign-controlled assets in the country, with the U.S. accounting or the largest share (52.3%), according to the StatsCan report.
As of 2021, China controls 3.5% of all foreign-owned assets in Canada, or $83.5 billion — down from 3.7% the year before.
As it pertains to China, the federal government said in March it would not ask Beijing again to divest stakes in three of Canada’s large mining companies, reported Reuters.
“If you start looking backwards at investments, it will create all kinds of uncertainty about whether an investment is ever really an investment,” Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told reporters.
According to the Corporations report, foreign-based entities control 44.3% of assets in the manufacturing sector ($1.167 trillion), followed by 40.1% in the oil and gas sector ($574.1 billion), and 30.1% in mining ($312.3 billion).
Teck Resources, Ivanhoe Mines Limited, and First Quantum Minerals Limited, all count Chinese state-owned enterprises as their largest shareholder.
According to Refinitiv data, the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp owns a 10.3% stake in Teck. China’s CITIC Metal Group owns 26% in Ivanhoe Mines, whereas its largest copper producer Jiangxi Copper Corp Ltd owns an 18.3% stake in First Quantum Minerals.
Wilkinson said then that Canada remains concerned about the prospects of hostile takeovers by Chinese state-owned enterprises but clarified their intent to continue trading with China.
“Of course, Canada will continue to have trade with China, some of that may involve trade in critical minerals,” he said.
According to data from the CIUA’s China-Canada Investment Tracker, between 2004 and 2022, Chinese companies made 322 investments in Canada’s metals and minerals sector, totalling over $21.6 billion.
During that period, the Americas macro-region observed significant asset growth over the past decade (10.6%), whereas Asia experienced a noticeable decline from 12.7% in 2020 to 4.4% in 2021.