Aus­tralia, China seek to boost economic ties

Business Standard - - WORLD - BLOOMBERG

Aus­tralian and Chi­nese of­fi­cials held talks in Bei­jing Satur­day aimed at tight­en­ing trade and economic ties be­tween the two coun­tries, just as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in­creases scru­tiny on the trad­ing prac­tices of the world’s big­gest ex­porter.

The two na­tions worked across “a whole range of is­sues, start­ing off first and fore­most with our com­bined com­mit­ments to grow our economies but also re­sist­ing against pro­tec­tion­ism,” Aus­tralian Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son told re­porters after the meet­ing. The of­fi­cials also dis­cussed in­vest­ment, com­pe­ti­tion and in­come poli­cies. China’s cap­i­tal curbs are not badly af­fect­ing Chi­nese in­vest­ment in Aus­tralia, Mor­ri­son said.

Aus­tralia is the most China-de­pen­dent econ­omy in the de­vel­oped world and two-way trade be­tween the two coun­tries is worth more than A$155 bil­lion ($124 bil­lion). A large chunk of that is Aus­tralian raw ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing iron ore and coal that helped build and fuel the plants at the cen­ter of China’s in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

China is now try­ing to tran­si­tion from a heavyin­dus­try driven econ­omy to one led by in­ter­nal con­sump­tion and this is show­ing up in tourism Down Un­der: some 1.2 mil­lion Chi­nese vis­i­tors came to Aus­tralia in 2016, com­pared to just 500 people 40 years ear­lier.

Yet China has faced a back­lash over in­vest­ment in Aus­tralia. Polls show Aus­tralians think too much Chi­nese prop­erty buy­ing is al­lowed Down Un­der, where buoy­ant house prices have be­come a po­lit­i­cal is­sue. The gov­ern­ment tight­ened scru­tiny of farm­land sales to Chi­nese buy­ers in 2015, with pur­chases of at least A$15 mil­lion need­ing to be screened for ap­proval. When it comes to in­vest­ment in China, Aus­tralia is be­hind, putting more cash into the tiny na­tion of Pa­pua New Guinea than the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy.


Aus­tralia is the most China de­pen­dent econ­omy in the de­vel­oped world

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