China has hit back after after Canada last week ordered three Chinese firms to sell their investments in its minerals sector.
Beijing said on Sunday it will take the necessary steps to safeguard the rights and interests of its companies after Ottawa last week ordered three Chinese companies to divest their investments in Canadian critical minerals, citing national security.
In a statement, China’s commerce ministry said it had urged Canada to stop politicising economic and trade issues.
The three firms ordered to divest their investments, on grounds of national security, were Sinomine (Hong Kong) Rare Metals Resources Co Ltd, Chengze Lithium International Ltd, also based in Hong Kong, and Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) Co Ltd.
The government ordered the divestiture after a “rigorous scrutiny” of foreign firms by Canada‘s national security and intelligence community, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement.
Sinomine was asked sell its investment in Power Metals Corp, Chengze Lithium asked to divest itself of its investment in Lithium Chile Inc and Zangge Mining is required to exit from Ultra Lithium Inc, according to the statement.
Canada has large deposits of critical minerals like nickel and cobalt, which are essential for cleaner energy and other technologies. Demand for the minerals is projected to expand significantly in the coming decades.
Earlier this year, Canada, the United States, Britain and a few other countries established a new partnership aimed at securing the supply of critical minerals as global demand for them rises.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara