CORRECTED-Canada cautious on foreign investment changes - minister

Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:50pm EDT

(Corrects "now" to "not" in 2nd paragraph)

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA, March 18 (Reuters) - Canada remains open to foreign investment but will be cautious about liberalizing rules for sensitive sectors since such decisions tend to be irreversible, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said on Monday.

"When you decide to go with these kinds of reforms, you cannot ratchet down after that. You can ratchet up but not down," Paradis told Reuters in an interview in his office.

He was answering questions about government plans in light of the 2008 Red Wilson report on boosting competition. It urged the government to liberalize or consider liberalizing foreign investment rules in telecommunications and broadcasting, the airline industry and uranium mining, and to allow mergers in the financial industry.

Paradis did lift restrictions on foreign investment in telecommunication providers with less than 10 percent of the market, but he said the Red Wilson report advocated a broad review before opening the sector up further or allowing more foreign investment in broadcasting.

"We are not there at this point," he said.

Even so, he hinted at that possibility in the event that current measures to boost telecom competition failed to bring lower prices and more choice for consumers.

"We cannot guarantee we will achieve what we want to achieve in terms of goals, when you talk about competition," he said. (Editing by Frank McGurty)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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