Australia should create fair, non-discriminatory environment for investors: Ministry

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/11 18:13:40


File photo: Graduates are seen at the campus of University of Sydney, Australia, June 5, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) encourages competitive domestic enterprises to invest in Australia and hopes the Australian government will create a fair and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese investors, the ministry's spokesperson said on Thursday. 

In response to Australia's plan to revise its foreign investment law possibly targeting at investment from China, MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng said China encourages competitive Chinese enterprises to invest in Australia on the bases of market principles and international conventions. 

China hopes Australia would "create a fair and non-discriminatory investment policy for foreign investors" and protect their legitimate rights, including those of Chinese firms. 

Gao added that Chinese enterprises have contributed greatly to Australia's economic and social development. He said he hoped the Australian government could adopt open and pragmatic investment policy, enhance communications with foreign investors and maintain the transparency and continuity of its polices. 

China's demand for Australia to keep its investment policy transparent and equal is reasonable as some investment from Chinese enterprises in the energy and electric power sectors was called off at the last minute, Han Feng, a research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

"While distrust seems to grow between the two countries, Australia is raising doubts about Chinese investment. If Australia doesn't trust China, nothing would be safe enough," he said. 

According to a report by KPMG and University of Sydney, China's outbound direct investment to Australia fell 62 percent to $3.4 billion during 2018-19, its lowest level in the last 10 years.

It is notable that China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian retweeted a string of posts devoted to China-Australia investment and Chinese students' education in Australia this week. Experts said this signals Chinese officials are paying close attention to Australia's moves and its officials' remarks. 

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the travel and education alerts are reminders for Chinese people to assess risks and arrange their plans to travel to Australia based on facts. Hua said such warnings were a responsible government's obligation.

Hua also commented on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's remarks that Australia won't "trade values in response to coercion." 

"I don't know where this 'coercion' idea comes from," said Hua at the daily press briefing. "Why bring it up together with 'values'?" 

She added that racial discrimination and violence are covered extensively by Australian media, and the Chinese Embassy in Australia has received a great number of complaints and requests for help. If Australia chooses not to acknowledge the obvious evidence, where does its confidence in developing its tourism and education come from, she said. 


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