Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CIBC Chief Calls for Clearer Foreign Investment Rules, More Competitive Tax Scheme

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CIBC Chief Calls for Clearer Foreign Investment Rules, More Competitive Tax Scheme

Article excerpt

CIBC chief calls for regulatory certainty

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TORONTO - The CEO of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says Canada must boost its global competitiveness and prepare for a future downturn by offering clearer foreign investment rules, matching a U.S. policy which allows companies to immediately write off the full cost of capital investments and attracting more skilled immigrants.

Victor Dodig said Tuesday in a wide-ranging speech that a lack of clarity on foreign investment rules is making business leaders and their clients hesitant to make significant long-term investments in Canada. Canada's approval systems need to work better and more predictably, as there are other destinations where the returns and rules are more certain, he added.

"This brand halo can only go so far," he said. "They need confidence, they need an element of certainty... We need to be attracting that capital, we need to be attracting those people to our country to help cushion us during the downturn -- and there will be a downturn."

His comments come just weeks after the Trans Mountain pipeline project expansion, which would double the existing line from Alberta to B.C. to triple the amount of oil shipped to the coast, was struck down by the Appeal Court on grounds including a lack of proper consultation with First Nations by federal government. Ottawa now owns the existing Trans Mountain line after purchasing it and other assets earlier this year for $4.5 billion to ensure the expansion gets done.

Dodig on Tuesday in his speech to the Empire Club of Canada pointed to Trans Mountain as an example of one of the problems "we've created on our own."

The chief executive of Canada's fifth-largest bank stressed that decisions should be made more quickly, "at this point especially, as we're getting towards the end of an economic cycle."

He warned about rising global debt levels and interest rates that have been "too low for too long. …

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