Article – Australia under pressure to offer incentives to Chinese investors

6 January 2015
Qin Dexing
Federal and State governments in Australia are coming under increasing pressure to offer incentives for Chinese companies to invest throughout the country, particularly in northern Australia.
The group AustCham, which has long promoted relations between the two countries, said that Chinese projects on Australian shores need more”soft support”in the wake of recent free trade agreements.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese president Xi Jinping signed an historic free trade agreement last year — the first between the two nations.
The pressure from AustCham follows similar urges from the National Australia Bank (NAB), who has requested relaxed trade agreements in an effort to guarantee the”future prosperity”of the agriculture industry within northern Australia.
NAB has suggested tariff reductions on sectors such as sugar, rice and cotton as a means of moving relations forward, while AustCham is campaigning for relaxed Visa roles for Chinese engineers and construction workers while completing projects in Australia.
One of AustCham’s directors, Tom Luckock, told News Ltd. on Tuesday that Chinese investors”take a degree of comfort from soft government support for a project.”
Luckock then pointed to examples in the United Kingdom, where the Beijing Construction Engineering Group were provided”soft support”to begin a 1.2 billion U.S. dollar redevelopment of the Manchester Airport in 2013.
While Luckock said that the support was not always expected to be financial, he did reveal any assurances offered to Chinese investors by Australian government officials would be beneficial. “This could be by presenting the projects to investors,”he told News Ltd. on Tuesday. “It could be through assurances that approvals within their control would be forthcoming, or it could simply be by encouraging Chinese investment into the north of Australia.”
Northern Australia is being targeted for foreign investment by Australian governments due to its limited commercial benefits.
However, Luckock indicated that Chinese and other foreign investors would continue to steer clear of the area if they were not incentivized.
Courtesy of ECNS