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Aug 20, 2018

Chinese ambassador 'regretful' over blocked Aecon sale

Chinese ambassador warns failed Aecon sale hurts confidence in Canada

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China's ambassador to Canada says the federal government’s decision to block a Chinese company’s proposed takeover of Aecon Group Inc. (ARE.TO) in May has hurt Chinese investors’ confidence in Canada.

“In my personal view I really feel regretful about the Aecon case,” Lu Shaye said via translator in an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang on Monday. “How to rebuild the confidence of Chinese investors on Canada? I think for the Canadian government, they can do something.”

The Trudeau government blocked Chinese state-owned CCCC International Holding Ltd.’s proposed $1.5-billion acquisition of the Canadian construction giant in May for national security reasons after the deal was announced in October.

Meanwhile, a tariff war between China and the United States has put a renewed focus on Canada’s broader trade relations with the world’s second-largest economy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Beijing in December but left without a commitment to move free trade talks past the exploratory phase into formal negotiations.

Lu noted that while China and Canada have made progress on a free-trade agreement, differences remain on other issues. 

“For the trade-related issues we have reached many consensuses and for some more specific issues we need more time to negotiate,” he said. “We still have some remaining differences in some issues but I think such kinds of issues were not related to trade.”

The Chinese ambassador also blasted security concerns surrounding Chinese technology giant Huawei, which supplies equipment used in telecommunications infrastructure run by Canada’s major carriers.

“Any accusations on Huawei’s so-called espionage activities are all sheer fiction because relevant parties never provided solid evidence,” Lu said. “It is quite easy to make accusations, but for international relations you should provide solid evidence and facts.”