A senior U.S. senator has called for a hard line on a state-owned Chinese company’s takeover bid for Canadian oil company Nexen, but Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird refuses to be pushed into anything.
“Decisions about the Canadian economy or about our economic relationship with China will be made in Ottawa, not in Washington or in New York,” Baird said on Friday.
His comments come after Sen. Chuck Schumer — a top New York Democrat — wrote to the U.S. treasury secretary about China National Overseas Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) proposed $15.1-billion takeover of Nexen.
Schumer says Nexen’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico — U.S. territory — account for about 10% of its business, so any takeover by a foreign buyer would be subject to review.
Baird says he has “great respect” for Schumer, but doesn’t know if the U.S. can block the CNOOC-Nexen deal.
The minister also refused to link the Nexen takeover to securing greater access to the Chinese market.
“Obviously we’d like to see less trade barriers, more trade, more free trade that is unencumbered,” he said. “We will continue to pursue that independently of this decision.”