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Media release

Mallesons calls for Australian business to better understand China potential

Stuart Fuller, Managing Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques addresses the Boao Forum in Perth

Speaking at the Boao Forum on Energy, Resources and Sustainable Development (Perth, July 11th and 12th) Stuart Fuller, Managing Partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, called for greater understanding of the investment opportunities and a greater reciprocity between China and Australia.

He said "Australia welcomes foreign investment but we need a deeper, more long term relationship with Chinese investors to really see value for business and communities, both in China and Australia".

He said that investment into Australia is a "level playing field" with FIRB a hurdle, not a roadblock, for inward investment. He highlighted that the race for capital is being run, and that Australia needs to be proactive in courting Chinese investment. "This needs to be done in a spirit of transparency and openness. The challenge for FIRB is to provide clear guidelines which will increase clarity which in turn will lead to long term sustainable success."

He added that there has been a popular debate about whether or not Australia is adopting a nationalist view in regard to investment from China. In reality, FIRB has rejected just 3 applications since 2007 for investment. It has approved thousands.

The conference also heard that China’s interest in Australia increasingly touches on sensitive areas such as land and food, education and professional services. To counter this, the Government and FIRB should quickly agree the policies relating to investment in these areas.

Stuart added "To genuinely develop a shared understanding requires ongoing dialogue and an intention to understand the other side. Those who have been successful in doing business in an Australia-China context appear to have two key features. First, an awareness of the cultural differences, including business strategy, conflict management, attitude to risk taking and avoidance, and participation in decision making. Second, there is a recognition of the personal relationship and connection and a keenness to engage in regular, ongoing contact over time, to build an equitable and sustainable partnership.

He concluded "We have a once in a generation opportunity to recast our trading relationship with China. Let's not be timid." 

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Note to editors:

[1] Stuart Fuller was speaking at the Boao Forum for Energy, Resources & Sustainable Development, held in Perth on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th July 2011

[2] Stuart Fuller was joined on stage by: Duncan Calder, President, Australia China Business Council (WA); Philip Kirchlechner, Director, Confucious Institute, University of Western Australia; Yang Zhizhong, Chairman & CEO, Nomura China; and Li Jiange, Chairman, China International Capital Corporation Limited.  

[3] Mallesons Stephen Jaques is a leading law firm in the Asian region. For over 180 years, the world’s leading organisations have entrusted us to advise on their most critical legal challenges. We couple high performance with intellectual rigour to provide legal solutions that are innovative and often ground breaking. This approach enables us to help our clients adapt to the increasingly challenging markets in which they operate - no matter where they are in the world - and ensures that they have a voice to help them shape the legal and regulatory landscape.  To provide our clients with legal advice that makes a difference, we invest in attracting, recruiting, retaining and nurturing the very best talent in all the markets in which we work.  We have offices in Australia’s major commercial centres, as well as Asia and the UK. 


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