Australia should be held accountable for the decline of Chinese investment in the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, urging Canberra to provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia has begun work on a plan to diversify foreign investment, partly based on the strategy Canberra has already adopted to shift its export markets as relations with Beijing have fallen to their worst levels in decades.
Chinese investment to Australia was down 61 percent and has been falling for the past five years, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
Some Australian have been politicizing and stigmatizing normal trade cooperation between China and Australia, imposing unreasonable restrictions on normal bilateral exchanges and cooperation, Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily news conference.
Such practices have disrupted the sound momentum of China-Australia practical cooperation and dampened the confidence of Chinese enterprises in investing in Australia, Zhao said.
He refuted claims saying Chinese investment declined last year, saying China”s outward foreign direct investment grew to $153.71 billion in 2020, ranking first globally for the first time, and the growth rate went up by 12.3 percent year-on-year in 2020.
The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to conduct foreign investment and cooperation in accordance with market principles and international rules, as well as local laws, he said.
At the same time, he said, China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies investing and operating abroad.
The Australian government should treat China-Australia cooperation objectively and rationally, and do more to facilitate mutual trust and bilateral cooperation, he said.
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