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FIPPA nothing to fear: Zimmer

The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) being negotiated between Canada and China is nothing to fear but rather raises the standards of business practices between the two countries, according to Prince George-Peace River Conservative MP Bob Zimmer.

Speculation that the agreement could somehow lead to a situation where a Chinese company with interests in the oil sands could sue Canada if the Northern Gateway pipeline gets nixed, since that could affect profits, is just that - speculation, Zimmer said.

"It's speculation in a couple respects," Zimmer said. "I don't see it that way. The FIPPA that we have with China is a framework, somewhat of a reciprocity. They recognize Canadian companies and their  right to operate in their country, and we do the same. The FIPPA with China helps us with a framework for companies and foreign investment that was't there previously. It gives parameters the Chinese have to operate under with us."

Zimmer said he understands the caution people feel when it comes to Chinese investment.

"We want to keep as much wealth in Canada as possible," he said. "But foreign investment helps Canada in many, many ways. We've had foreign investment in Canada for many, many years. FIPPAs give a stable framework to operate businesses out of, and that's what they're designed to do. Canada has many FIPAs. There are many being negotiated, and many that we've been operating under for a while."

He added the FIPA with China isn't  anything to be afraid of.

"If anything it adds a level of consistency we need for business," he said.

Even though China is a communist country with all aspects of the country, including businesses, closely tied to and supported by government, Chinese businesses won't have an edge over Canadian businesses.

"Once they get to Canada they have to follow the framework just as any other business would. They don't have any more rights than a Canadian company in Canada," Zimmer said. "The FIPA doesn't bring the standards down. Frankly the opposite is true. It brings the standards higher. These are standards we both have to hold to whether we are in Canada or in China, It's to get rid of that fear of the unknown for Canadian and Chinese businesses."

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