A Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) is a treaty designed to protect and promote Canadian investments abroad through legally binding provisions, as well as to promote foreign investment in Canada. Canada has consistently supported strong, rules-based investment through the negotiation of FIPAs.
Exploratory talks toward a Canada-Kuwait FIPA began in 2006, with negotiations concluding in 2009. On September 26, 2011, Prime Minister Harper and the Prime Minister of the Kuwait, Sheik Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, witnessed the signing of the Canada-Kuwait FIPA. The Agreement was signed in Ottawa by Canada’s Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Ed Fast, and Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Al-Sabah al-Salim Al Sabah, during an official visit to Canada by Prime Minister Nasser.
Following the Agreement’s formal signature, it will be tabled in the House of Commons for a period of 21 sitting days for Members of Parliament to review and debate. It will come into force once the Governor General has given it royal assent and the Kuwaiti ratification process has been completed.
Once implemented, the Canada-Kuwait FIPA will provide greater predictability and certainty for Canadians investing in Kuwait, and provide comprehensive protection for investors in both countries through legally binding provisions. The agreement will help ensure that foreign investors receive similar treatment to domestic investors by guaranteeing that companies will not have their investments expropriated without prompt and adequate compensation and that they will not be subject to treatment lower than the minimum standard established in customary international law.
Kuwait offers significant investment potential for Canadians, particularly in manufacturing and infrastructure. In recent years, Canada’s presence in Kuwait has grown, largely due to investment in services, including healthcare and education, engineering, oil and gas, as well as in a number of new retail franchises.
In addition to signing a FIPA with Kuwait, Canada has 24 others FIPAs in force, has concluded negotiations with Madagascar and Bahrain, and is negotiating or exploring discussions with 15 other countries.
In 2010, bilateral trade between Canada and Kuwait reached $129 million, with exports totalling $97 million.