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Canada to guard against foreign takeovers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada will scrutinize health-related foreign investments to make sure that other countries aren't taking advantage of the pandemic to pursue takeovers.

The companies to be examined "with particular attention" are those investments related to public health or those that supply critical goods with close ties to other governments.

According to a policy statement released by Canada on Saturday, some investments "by state-owned enterprises may be motivated by non-commercial imperatives that could harm Canada's economic or national security interests."

"There are vulnerable businesses that are going to be important to our recovery who are perhaps exposed to foreign purchases," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday.

Other countries have also tightened investment rules during the pandemic, including Australia, which announced last month that their government would need to approve all foreign takeovers, no matter how small.

COVID-19 has spread rapidly across Canada and, as of April 16, has registered almost 30,000 cases and over 1000 deaths. The country has also been hit hard by the sharp global decline in oil prices.

Canada's economy is in a near halt due to measures to curb the spread of the virus, including the shutdown of non-essential businesses.

Federal and provincial governments are imposing a range of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, which includes travel restrictions, social distancing, and closures of many non-essential businesses.

The country's S&P/TSX Composite Index has plummeted by almost 16 percent since the start of 2020.

According to the policy statement, the country will leave the measures in place until its economy recovers from the crisis.

Canada is working with international groups, fast-tracking clinical trials, and applications for treatments, vaccines, and diagnostic tests. The country is also working closely with the United States Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration to share information on global supply disruptions.

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