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Lexpert: Investors abroad take aim at Canada’s cultural protectionism

Even as Canada plays catch-up on the international trade scene through its pursuit of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), it faces its first non-NAFTA investment claim and the first BIT claim against it by a developing-country investor – and from no less a trading power than Egypt.

An Egyptian telecom firm has requested arbitration from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The dispute almost certainly arises from the company's failed attempt to buy a controlling interest in a Canadian wireless-service provider a few years ago. This is the first BIT dispute in which Canada finds itself on the defensive, and the case is squarely within the realm of the cultural-protectionism allegations that have long sullied Canada's reputation as a free-trade advocate.

Lexpert contributor Julius Melnitzer reports at lexpert.ca.

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