Australia should treat Chinese companies fairly: senior trade official
Published: Apr 05, 2023 07:43 PM
China-Australia Photo: VCG

China-Australia Photo: VCG

China is concerned about stricter rules for Chinese enterprises looking to operate and invest in Australia, with the Ministry of Commerce calling Australia to handle relevant cases appropriately. 

The Australian government is asked to instill more confidence into economic cooperation with China amid thawing bilateral relations, instead of creating obstacles for economic cooperation, an expert noted on Wednesday.

"China is highly concerned about the accelerated scrutiny of Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in Australia, and the adoption of trade remedy measures against Chinese products, and hopes that the Australian side will handle relevant cases objectively and impartially," Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said on Monday in Beijing during a meeting with Tim Yeend, associate secretary of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Wang urged the Australian side to take the relevant measures carefully and provide Chinese enterprises with a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment, adding that the two economies are complementary with great potential for enhanced cooperation, the ministry said on Tuesday.

Yeend said that Australia will continue to uphold an open investment policy and treat enterprises of all countries equally, including from China, and is willing to continue to resolve differences through frank dialogues and strengthen the confidence of both sides in promoting economic and trade cooperation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Tuesday that China has made solemn demarches to the Australian side in response to its recent ban on TikTok for Australian government devices. 

"China always believes that digital security should not be used as a tool to suppress foreign companies in an over-stretch of the concept of national security and abuse of state power. We urge Australia to earnestly observe the rules of the market economy and the principle of fair competition, and provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies," Mao said. 

Amid the uncertainties between China and the US, Australia cannot resist the allure of the Chinese market, but it still follows the US and is unable to adopt an independent foreign policy, Song Wei, a professor at the school of international relations and diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Regardless of Australia's wavering political stance, China remains Australia's largest export destination, and the indispensable market cannot be easily replaced, especially amid its rapid economic recovery and continuously improved business environment, Song noted. 

The Australian government banned TikTok on government devices on Tuesday over so-called security concerns, which came into effect "as soon as practicable," Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement, noting that the ban came after "receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies." 

The move means all members of the so-called Five Eyes alliance have banned the app from government devices, Reuters reported. 

In another development, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan will embark on a five-day mission to "reconnect" the state with China days after the reported trip by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Sky News Australia reported. 

Song said that the states in Australia hope to achieve fast post-pandemic economic recovery through sharing the Chinese market's dividends, adding that Chinese students are a huge source of support for Australia's service trade. 

Song noted that Australia should inject confidence to enterprises from both sides as well as Chinese international students, and its repeatedly wavering stance will only result in Chinese enterprises and students doubting the prospects of bilateral cooperation, which may cause significant economic losses for Australia. 

Global Times