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Foreign direct investment in Canada: Who’s favoured, who’s frowned upon?

As Canada continues to look for ways to deepen its economic ties with the world’s second-largest economy, a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds most Canadians feeling either ambivalent or skeptical about Chinese investment in this country, and most would prefer to discourage it in all but a few sectors of the economy – namely manufacturing, technology, and retail.

That said, Canadians are more receptive to Chinese money entering their nation’s economy than they are to investment from Russia or the United Arab Emirates.

Criticisms of Chinese investment may – in part – reflect broader uncertainty about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) overall. This study finds substantial variation in Canadians’ willingness to encourage such investments depending on where the money is coming from and what sectors it’s going into.

Key Findings:

  • Canadians are more willing to encourage investment from the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union than from China, Russia, or the United Arab Emirates
  • A majority of Canadians (58 per cent) say discouraging Chinese investment would be “worth it to prevent Chinese takeovers of Canadian companies,” compared to 42 per cent who say it would be “not worth risking damage to the economic relationship” between the two countries
  • That said, more than half would encourage Chinese investment in Canada’s manufacturing (53 per cent), retail (54 per cent), and technology (59 per cent) sectors. These three sectors are the most popular ones among the Canadian public for foreign investment regardless of its country of origin


  • Part 1: FDI acceptable from certain countries and in certain sectors

    • Investment from U.K., U.S., E.U. regarded more favourably

    • Russia, U.A.E regarded with caution

  • Part 2: Chinese Foreign Direct Investment – an analysis:

    • More see Chinese investment as bad than good

    • In which sectors should China be encouraged to invest?

Link to the poll here:

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