find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
China’s dealmakers fear Australian protectionism

China’s dealmakers fear Australian protectionism

A prominent business consultant says Chinese investors have grown weary of opportunities in the Australian resources sector following collapsed deals and allegations against Rio Tinto employees.…

A prominent business consultant says Chinese investors have grown weary of opportunities in the Australian resources sector following collapsed deals and allegations against Rio Tinto employees.

Barbara Grieve, the managing director of Australia-China Business Development who works to facilitate the interests of Chinese investments into the Australian resources sector, told Lawyers Weekly today that the collapse of the $19.5 billion Rio-Tinto/Chinalco deal, and the arrest of Rio Tinto employees, including Australian Stern Hu, over allegations of espionage, have raised concerns among her clients.

"There are questions from everyone I meet," she said while in Shanghai this week. "I think there is a strong misunderstanding because in Chinese propaganda they have their way of telling the story and it's very different to what Australia hears."

Grieve said the collapse of the Chinalco deal has been particularly difficult for her clients to understand - an issue she counteracts by asking them to compare the Australian reaction to such a deal involving a state-owned entity securing an Australian asset to the way they would feel if the Australian Government put in a proposal to buy Chinalco.

"I think, with a clear explanation, most of my Chinese clients understand this. However, I think there are major issues in the Chinese media about the idea that Australia is not welcoming Chinese investors and that Australia is upholding its protectionism."

Grieve believes misunderstandings have been further exacerbated by the Rio Tinto employee arrests in China and subsequent media attention, which has left the Chinese business community believing their government has achieved justice by incarcerating the accused

However, this week's news regarding Chinese coal producer Yanzhou Coal's bid for Queensland coal producer Felix Resources could be the catalyst needed to mend relations between the two countries and ignite a wave of further investment, said Grieve.

"I think any significant welcoming of Chinese investment sends a positive message to businesses in China," she said.

"Otherwise they are concerned that they are not welcome by and large in Australia - they think Australia has discriminated against China."

Grieve counselled lawyers involved in large resources deals between the two countries to do more to alleviate some of the cultural issues that emerge - particularly by seeking to understand the many differences between the two political systems.

"Australia is a law-governed country, but China is a people-governed country," she said. "Lawyers [need to] understand that China is people-governed - and not absolutely governed by law - then, hopefully, we can start to break down the barriers."

Recently, Australia China Business Council President Jim Harrowell told Lawyers Weekly that the collapsed Chinalco deal should not deter two-way trading and investment in China.

"China likes dealing with Australians and we should encourage it," he said. "I get very frustrated that sometimes we spend far too much time trying to find negative points in relation to China."

- Angela Priestley

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

China’s dealmakers fear Australian protectionism
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...