Canada PM: foolish for foreign investment rules to be too clear

TORONTO Fri Nov 8, 2013 12:21pm EST

TORONTO Nov 8 (Reuters) - It would be foolish for Canadian rules on foreign investment to be too clear because Ottawa needs a certain amount of discretion when considering takeover bids, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday.

Canada last year laid down strict limits on what kinds of investment foreign state-owned enterprises could make in the energy sector. Some potential investors, particularly in Asia, say they are now not sure what kinds of takeover bids would be allowed.

"When you are dealing with large state investors - foreign governments as the investor - I think it would be foolish for the Canadian government to provide absolute clarity. It is absolutely necessary, when the investor is a foreign government, for the government of Canada to be able to exercise its discretion and have direct conversations with those foreign investors," Harper told a business audience in Toronto.

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