Chinese Investment in Australia in the Post-ChAFTA Era: A Critical Analysis

Dr Weihuan Zhou, UNSW Law

Dr Weihuan Zhou presented a recent research on “Chinese Investment in Australia after the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)” at UNSW Law Staff Seminar on 25 July 2017. The presentation reviewed Chinese outbound investment policies and the investment complementarity between China and Australia, which have been the major drivers for Chinese investment in Australia in the past decade before the conclusion of the ChAFTA. Dr Zhou then discussed the major issues in the ChAFTA negotiations and the major rules under the ChAFTA on investment liberalisation and investor protection. He argued that the positive impact of these rules on Chinese investment in Australia has been overstated. These rules, as they currently stand, may not create sufficient incentives for or boost the confidence of Chinese investors. Chinese investment in Australia will continue to be influenced by the investment policies and needs of China as a capital-exporter and Australia as a capital-importer. However, the recent agreement of the two governments to commence the review of these rules in 2017 shows their commitment to further developing these rules to achieve a higher level of investment protection and liberalisation. As the bilateral relationship continues to deepen and broaden, the ChAFTA investment rules will be gradually improved to serve the shared interests of both countries.