Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quebec targets foreign investors

Colleague Ian Cumming (we both write for Ontario Farmer publications) has come across a juicy story in Quebec.

It seems the province's biggest farm organization doesn't like the bidding competition from Chinese investors buying farmland, so it has persuaded the PĂ©quiste government to propose draconian measures to curb their enthusiasm.

"Any foreign person or company now wanting to buy a Quebec farm or business must give $800,000 to the Quebec government, which will be returned without interest in five years time," writes Cumming.

"In a renewal of the rules for investing immigrants, posted on March 27, 2013 for comment by the Ministere de L’Immigration et des Communacature Culturelles, the posted rules detail how a government approved broker or trust company will take the $800,000 and the revenues it generates over the half decade, will help fund two government immigration programs.

"These are to help finance the running of the Quebec foreign investing program and a job integration assistance program.

“At the end of the five year term the broker or trust company will, within 30 days, reimburse the applicant $800,000 without interest,” says the government posting.

The government proposal also says foreign investors will need a minimum of $1.6 million “legally obtained,” have experience managing and financing the industry they are investing in, plus have a Quebec business that will employ at least two full-time staff.

So, if the Chinese can't buy in Quebec, guess where they will be shopping.

And while Quebec prices for prime farmland may cool as a result, they are likely to get hotter than a pistol in Ontario.