Business / Economy

Chinese, Australian economies complementary

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-09 13:47

SYDNEY - The Australian Prime Minister's senior business advisor has concluded economic ties between his country and China are "complementary and important to each other" in a critique of relations between the two nations.

Maurice Newman, chairman of PM Tony Abbott's Business Advisory Council,also praised the Boao Forum for its pragmatism and focus on practical outcomes compared to Europe's Davos Economic Forum.

"Unlike Davos, which is Eurocentric, leans to the left and favors government solutions, Boao has an Asian focus and is about trade liberalization, financial integration and infrastructure," he wrote in The Australian newspaper.

"Whereas Davos worries about wellness, inequality, gender gaps and climate change, Boao's accent is on living standards and practical outcomes."

He concluded ties between the two countries are extremely important and valuable.

"The Chinese respect our governance, natural resources and know- how, we their culture, strategic importance and markets," he wrote.

"They acknowledge our Western alliances and geographical location and hope in time to persuade us that 'close neighbors are better than distant relatives.' Time will tell."

However, in reaching that conclusion, the former boss of the Australian Stock Exchange noted the cultural and political differences between the two countries cannot be ignored as the relationship further develops.

"It is clear the Chinese are puzzled by some of our social and economic customs," Newman wrote. "They see our generous welfare, mandated minimum wage, workplace benefits and high taxes as disincentives to work. They also wonder why our approval processes are so long and inconsistent."

"Our response that these policies are largely bipartisan isn't very persuasive. It may explain why not much changes politically, but it doesn't address their valid points of high labor costs, declining competitiveness or mixed foreign investment messages."

He noted China wants Australia to allow Chinese employees to work on Chinese investments in construction in Australia, as their wages are lower than Australian workers.

But Newman said that was "a bridge too far" for any Australian government to cross.

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