08 November 2015
In the eyes of many, investments from China are inherently suspicious if not dangerous. This is partly due to the fear that a huge influx of Chinese workers will put local jobs at risk. This Sino-phobic sentiment has been increasingly exploited by critics targeting China’s free trade agreements (FTAs).
Recently in Australia, trade union concerns over the investment arrangements of the China-Australia FTA (ChAFTA) – Chinese companies are allowed to bring in temporary skilled workers from China to work on projects worth over AU$150 million ($105.7 million) – nearly derailed the ratification of the ChAFTA.
Despite 10 years of laborious negotiations and potentially enormous gains for Australia, labor rights group calls the ChAFTA “the worst trade agreement that Australia has ever signed.” One notorious feature of political rhetoric is that it seldom stands up to fact checking. Misperceptions surrounding China, which often skew policy debates, are no different. It is imperative to de-mystify and de-demonize China’s outbound investment and FTAs.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) from China surged rapidly from $20 billion in the pre-crisis era to $116 billion in 2014, registering an annual growth rate of 25 percent. However, over the same period, the number of Chinese workers working abroad increased by just 9 percent yearly, from 0.5 million to 1 million. It is rather ridiculous to accuse Chinese workers of killing foreign job markets.
… The author is PhD candidate at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore on the Nanyang President’s Graduate Scholarship.
GPO / Online
Last updated on 09/11/2015