RPT-Canada to unveil investment guidelines post-Potash

(Repeats to additional clients without changes)

* Investment guidelines to be unveiled in early December

* Canada PM discussed BHP bid with Australia’s Gillard

* Canada PM says no other country would have approved bid

By David Ljunggren

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Nov 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Canada, which stunned
markets by blocking a bid from Anglo-Australian firm BHP
Billiton (BHP.AX: ) for Potash Corp (POT.TO: ), will soon reveal
what kind of foreign investment it finds acceptable, Prime
Minister Stephen Harper said on Sunday.

The government blocked the hostile $39 billion takeover on
Nov. 3 on the grounds it was not of net benefit to Canada.

Harper had been under huge pressure from political allies,
who said potash — which is used to make fertilizer — was a
strategic resource and should remain in Canadian hands.

The move prompted concerns Ottawa was reneging on promises
to fight protectionism and might effectively be creating a list
of strategic firms — such as BlackBerry maker Research in
Motion (RIM.TO: ) — that could not be taken over by foreigners.

The Investment Canada Act — which regulates foreign
takeovers — stipulated that BHP had 30 days from Nov 3 to
submit a modified bid but few political observers believe the
Harper administration will change its mind.

“When the (30-day) period expires the government will be in
a position not only to give reasons for the decision but to
give broader guidance to the investment community on the kind
of foreign investment it is and is not seeking within Canada,”
he told reporters after a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders.

Harper, who gave no details, had already expressed a
willingness to review the Investment Canada Act, which critics
complain is too vague and not transparent enough.

Harper said Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had
raised the Potash issue on the sidelines of a G20 summit in
Seoul on Thursday, but gave no details. No other leaders had
mentioned it, he added.

“It would be an interesting question to ask whether any
other country would approve a similar transaction … even with
this decision, Canada has one of the most open investment
regimes in the world,” he said.

In the wake of the decision, Canada’s farm minister said
letting BHP Billiton buy Potash would have offered Australia’s
farm sector too much of an advantage. His office later said the
comments had been speculative.

Since the Investment Canada Act came into force in 1985,
more than 1,600 foreign takeovers have been approved. Only two
were blocked, both by the Harper government.

In 2008, citing national security, it prevented Macdonald
Dettwiler and Associates (MDA.TO: ) from selling a satellite unit
to a U.S. firm.

(Editing by Ed Davies)

RPT-Canada to unveil investment guidelines post-Potash