Beijing, China: “The Chinese side resolutely opposes Canada’s actions that violate and block normal business cooperation between Chinese and Canadian companies on the pretext of protection of national security,” the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement, as quoted by Xinhua news agency.
The Chinese commerce ministry accused Canada of “politicizing economic and trade relations” and creating a fair and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign investors including Chinese ones.
This rebuke comes after the Canadian government this week ordered three China-originated foreign companies to divest investments in Canadian critical mineral firms due to national security concerns.
According to a press release of the Canadian government, Sinomine Rare Metals Resources Co. Limited, is required to quit Power Metals Corp, Chengze Lithium International Limited must quit Lithium Chile Inc. and Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) Co., Ltd. must quit Ultra Lithium Inc.
This decision comes as China continues to dominate the rare earth elements around the world, while the west is pushing towards self-reliance in the procurement of scarce metals and minerals.
However, China does not produce a lot of minerals. Instead, it has invested heavily in overseas mines in places like Canada to acquire the raw materials it needs, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.
Earlier, Canada’s Science and Industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the decision was made after reviewing a number of investments in Canadian companies engaged in the critical minerals sector, including lithium.
Western countries are now trying to upend China’s dominance in the field and create a new supply chain.
The Canadian government said these companies were reviewed via the multi-step national security review process, which involves rigorous scrutiny by Canada’s national security and intelligence community.
Ottawa said the government’s decisions are based on facts and evidence and on the advice of critical minerals subject matter experts, Canada’s security and intelligence community, and other government partners.