(Australian Associated Press)
Australia should welcome foreign investment from China wholeheartedly, says John Howard.
The former prime minister told business leaders in Sydney on Tuesday night that Australia should always have a welcoming stance to foreign investment.
“We have benefited successively from British investment, American investment, Japanese investment and we should welcome wholeheartedly Chinese investment in this country,” he said.
“It’s part of the economic structure of Australia, it’s part of the natural involvement of that country. It is our major trading partner and the idea that we can cherry-pick the character of our relationship with China is absurd.”
Mr Howard said he could recall a time when there was unease about American investment in Australia.
“I can remember people complaining about Detroit having too much say over our motor vehicle industry,” he said.
“When you think about it now, we would long for the day when Detroit might be interested in a motor vehicle industry in Australia, and it is a reminder how these circumstances can change.”
Mr Howard said the work that has been done to build free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea are one of the great achievements of the Abbott government.