By Will Koulouris
SYDNEY, March 17 (Xinhua) -- A former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, urged Chinese businesses on Friday to find an Australian partner when looking to invest in Australia.
Howard told The Australian, that "if you can get some Australian investment, get it", as it would lead to better outcomes for both sides, and streamline the process of investment into Australia.
The former Australian PM was adamant that despite the commentary of some, there was not too much foreign investment in Australia, as the figures speak for themselves, and warned that certain narratives that are being pushed in terms of investment from China, were wrong.
"Provided Chinese investors abide by the rules, we have to be non-discriminatory. We can't apply a different standard to Chinese investment to investment from Japan or America," Howard said.
Australians need to understand that Chinese investment was crucial to Australia's ability to further develop, according to Howard, and is a natural circumstance of the stronger ties that are being continuously built by the two nations.
Howard contends the attitudes to Chinese investment, are really no different to those that were directed at the United States back in the 1970's.
"When I first came into parliament in 1974, people were complaining about the stranglehold that the Americans had on the car industry in Australia," Howard said.
"Now we would go down on bended knees to have Detroit running something in Australia."
This is a sentiment shared by Former Trade Minister Andrew Robb, a contemporary of Howard's when he was the leader of the country, who told Xinhua earlier this year, that Australia relies on foreign investment, despite there having been those who protest the influx of capital from overseas.
"Australia now is one of the wealthiest countries in the world because foreign investment has been allowed to come in and help Australia develop its potential," Robb said.
"And that's the message every Australian needs to understand."
Robb also shared the same views on partnerships, stressing that not only should Chinese businesses be looking at partnering with Australians, Australia should also be looking for similar cooperation in Asia.
"Investing in China, in India, in Indonesia, in Vietnam, and taking our world class services, hundreds of different services; aged care, healthcare, design, agricultural, resource management, financial; we should be looking to take those into the region in many cases through joint ventures with the locals," Robb said.
"If we don't put down roots now in the region, we miss out in the future, or when all these countries go towards the developed stages."
The opportunities in China made it pivotal for Australian businesses to establish partnerships with Chinese companies, Howard said, despite the difficulties that may be experienced in Asia, due to the cultural and business practice differences.