There is much gnashing of teeth in Canada over their government’s rejection of BHPBilliton’s takeover offer of Potash Corp on national interest grounds. Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, has a number of articles critical of the government’s decision and in particular Canada’s ad hoc takeover rules (sounds pretty much like the process here). Internationally, the past 60 years have seen a focus on trade and trade rules, with FDI taking something of a back seat. As cross border investment flows continue to become much more important it will be interesting to see whether there is more discussion at an international level over investment rules. As for BHPBilliton and Potash, I never found BHP’s arguments that convincing. Supposedly, Potash can be mined, so it is a good fit for BHP, and fertiliser growth will grow tremendously in coming years with the growth of emerging market (Chinese) demand for meat and other fertiliser intensive food. But I have seen a number of presentations in recent years on the extreme mismanagement of fertiliser use in China currently (remember the green sea around Qingdao before the olympics, and in Lake Tai around the same time). It seems to me that better management and alternative farming techniques and the growth of organics are likely to significantly affect fertiliser demand in coming years. But if you’re not convinced, I’m sure that Potash shares will be a lot cheaper tomorrow morning than they were today!