by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Sept 14, 2012
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr Friday hit out at critics of Chinese investment in the country, urging resistance to "nationalistic sloganeering" on the issue.
Rural politicians have warned against selling valuable farm and mineral land to foreigners, and the debate escalated after Canberra gave the go-ahead for the sale of the nation's biggest cotton farm to a Chinese-led consortium.
"The idea that foreign ownership of Australian mines or farms will somehow limit our control over production or undermine our food security is simply not correct," Carr told a conference in Sydney.
China is Australia's top trading partner, and its enterprises have expressed interest in buying mining and farming land as it seeks to secure supply.
But Chinese investment is a sensitive issue in Australia, with telecom firm Huawei banned for security reasons from bidding on the nation's broadband rollout earlier this year.
Carr said direct foreign investment from the Asian giant was only about 2.6 percent of all inward investment in 2011, well behind that from the United States, Britain, Japan and the Netherlands.
The European Union accounted for 34 percent of Australia's foreign investment, he added.
The foreign minister said Australia had nothing to fear from Chinese investment, particularly given growing transparency in Beijing.
"We should resist the temptation of falling back on narrow, nationalistic sloganeering when it comes to Chinese investment in Australia," Carr said.
"There's a retiring leader of China who's saying in effect we've got to have a different political system," he said in reference to outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
"Chinese leaders more than Wen Jiabao talk about democracy, talk about political reform.
"We've got to consider that there might be for us the challenging consequences of a more transparent Chinese politics, for example, the force of Chinese nationalism."
Canberra has argued that foreign investment is welcome and necessary.
In allowing the proposed sale of the Cubbie cotton station to a consortium led by Chinese textile company Shandong RuYi last month, Treasurer Wayne Swan said the investment was consistent with Australia's national interest.
But Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, who has lobbied against the sale, said it would be "a loss of another section of our prime agricultural land to an overseas interest".
Hong Kong warns of property bubble from Fed plan
HKMA Chief Executive Norman Chan said the latest US stimulus plan announced Thursday could increase the risk of a property market bubble forming in the southern Chinese city.
He said the de facto central bank would take measures to cool local asset markets if necessary, and had already required banks to tighten lending requirements for people with multiple mortgages.
"We expect that the period of exceptionally low interest rates and abundant global liquidity will stay with us longer and the risk of overheating in the property market in Hong Kong will increase," Chan told reporters.
"HKMA is concerned that borrowers with multiple mortgages loans will pose high risk to the banks."
Chan's comments came after the US Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee announced a new, open-ended $40 billion-a-month bond-buying programme to stimulate growth and employment in the world's biggest economy.
The third round of so-called quantitative easing, or "QE3", will take the US central bank's total monthly purchases to $85 billion a month.
Hong Kong's currency peg to the US dollar means monetary policy in the United States flows directly into the local economy.
The Asian financial centre has some of the highest property prices in the world, driven by limited supply and speculation from wealthy mainland Chinese investors.
Hundreds of thousands of working people are forced to live in tiny, windowless "cubicle" apartments because they can't afford to rent decent accommodation or buy their own homes.
The government has promised to alleviate the situation with measures including boosting public housing and releasing more land for development, but so far the policies have made little difference to housing affordability.
Chan said there was no prospect of the peg being dropped, despite calls earlier this year from the former head of the HKMA, Joseph Lam, for a review of the government's monetary options.
Global Trade News
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Hundreds protest against Myanmar mine
Yangon (AFP) Sept 12, 2012
Hundreds of Myanmar villagers protesting a Chinese co-owned copper mine vowed to continue their fight against the project despite arrests of demonstrators and orders for the rally to move. In a show of defiance unthinkable just last year when junta rule was replaced by a quasi-civilian government, locals in Monywa in northern Sagaing division have staged weeks of protest over alleged land gr ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|