Those involved in Australian agriculture and foreign trade are looking at Chinese investment to develop farming operations in the northern portion of Australia.
A study was financed and results are soon to be released about the potential and how it might work. But according to a quote of the Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson, Chinese investment would not involve “selling up” what were termed as “valuable national resources,” or “importing overseas labor and dedicating the production to Chinese consumption.” This is even though the original concept for Chinese investment is to “boost food security” for China. All the information and quotes come from the Australian Financial Review and a report by the worldwide AFP news service.
The Australian government reports that about half of the country’s food industries are foreign controlled and 11 percent of its farmland is owned by foreign investors. The government appears to be open to foreign investment in agricultural industries and farmland ownership, but rural residents and politicians reportedly aren’t too thrilled.
Farmers and ranchers seem content to maintain China as their number one outlet for exports rather than having China own the production operations in Australia.
Trade Minister Emerson was quoted as saying a relationship with China for rural investment would be “designed to lift Australian food production for world markets.” That quote is being interpreted to mean many things.