Australian opposition warns on investments

09:34, August 18, 2010      

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Australia's opposition leader said Tuesday that he would be "very careful" about investments by foreign state-owned firms if his party wins Saturday's elections.

  "I don't particularly want to see nationalization of businesses by Australia, let alone nationalization of Australian businesses by other countries or by entities controlled by other countries," Reuters quoted Tony Abbott, leader of the main opposition Liberal and National Party coalition, as saying.

  Abbott is especially concerned about Chinesesovereign wealth funds buying shares in Australian businesses.

  China is Australia's largest trading partner.

  According to the statistics published by China Customs last week, from January to July this year, bilateral trade volume between China and Australia reached $46 billion, 46.3 percent higher than the amount in the same period last year.

  Nick Fisher, an Australian corporate lawyer, noted that Abbott said he did not envision a need to change Foreign Investment Review Board rules regarding overseas investment.

  "Chinese foreign investment in Australia often comprises equity interests in Australian projects or debt finance for those projects, with associated off-take agreements allowing the investor to participate in the resource itself once produced. There has also been increasing Chinese interest in takeovers of Australian companies. These are precisely the types of arrangements that would be affected by changes to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act," Fisher said.

  Huang Tianwen, president of Sinosteel Corporation, said resource-based Chinese industries may remain committed to expanding their business development overseas and their access to more resources.

Source: Global Times


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