Opinion: do foreigners have more freedom to invest in Australia than in almost any other country?

September 9, 2016

Dr Jeffrey WilsonPrime Minister Turnbull recently stated that “China has more freedom to invest in Australia, indeed all foreigners have more freedom to invest in Australia, than almost any other country.”

Dr Jeffrey Wilson, a fellow of Murdoch’s Asia Research Centre, discussed free trade with Australia in a collaborative piece in The Conversation.

Dr Wilson outlined how Australia’s foreign investment partners have changed many times through history, and how the arrival of each of these groups has presented Australia with distinct political tension.

“Today we are dealing with the fact that many Chinese investors are state-owned corporations, which pose their own unique political and regulatory challenges,” Dr Wilson said.

“However, these are arguably issues to be managed rather than reasons to reject foreign investment. Australia is a small open economy, which depends on foreign investment to bring in the capital, technology, skills and marketing channels critical for 21st century industries.”

He argued that Australia’s foreign investment regime has become much more closed in recent years.

“Australia’s foreign investment regime is more open than many other countries. However, it also remains the case that it has become much more closed in recent years,” Dr Wilson said.

Dr Wilson argued that the Prime Minister’s claim was about the freedom of Chinese companies to make foreign investments into Australia, but that there is no quantifiable metric that measures the openness of a country’s foreign investment regime.

The full piece can be read here.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
Tel: (08) 9360 1289  |  Mobile: 0417 171 551  |  Email: p.smyth@murdoch.edu.au
Categories: General, Research, Asian studies, political science and social sciences
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