Australia is open to Chinese investors, but security issues are important: FIRB

Sydney — Australia is not closed to Chinese investors, but national security concerns and protection of critical infrastructure are now key factors in determining transaction approval, its Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) said. Said on Thursday.

China’s investment in Australia has fallen by more than 50% over the past four years to around A $ 12 billion ($ 8.86 billion) due to tighter capital restrictions by Beijing and worsening relations between the two countries.

“We are implementing a non-discriminatory investment policy … from both perspectives of where we can invest … [and] In terms of source, it is the source of the investment, “said FIRB Chair David Irvine at the Citi Investment Conference.

He emphasized that 20% of the transactions approved in the past year have somehow gained China’s participation.

“We continue to welcome investment applications from China’s interests. If they are in areas of national security interest, they have the same kind of consideration as other people investing in those areas. Will be the target of. “

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with exports reaching a record high of A $ 19.4 billion in July. However, diplomatic relations have deteriorated in recent years, and China has restricted imports of coal, wine and barley during the conflict.

Last year, Australia introduced the largest foreign investment law reform in almost half a century, including empowering the government to force the sale of businesses if it poses a national security risk.

Former Australian intelligence director Irvine acknowledged that behind these reforms, the increasing factor of global warfare is the collapse of critical infrastructure, and Australia must take into account its protection. Said there is.

“They say Australia’s environment is difficult. Yes, I’ve always heard those complaints, but in reality it’s more about national security issues in the investment regime. It’s not just Australia. “

Paulina Durand