I caught Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's speech at the Institute of International Economics this week. In the speech, he said basically that all the world's efforts to get out our financial mess would collapse if we adopted protectionist measures. No brainer.
But I wonder if he's saying one thing and doing another. Reports from Australia indicate that two big Chinese-owned firms are having trouble acquiring two large Australian companies.
Chinese-owned Minmetals has been blocked from acquiring the key asset in its $2.6 billion bid for OZ Minerals because the South Australian gold and copper mine was too close to a sensitive Australian defense facility, reports The Australian.
In addition, there's also trouble with a proposed $28 billion investment in Rio Tinto and some of its key mining projects by Chinese-owned Chinalco. The Australian government has labeled Chinalco a state-run firm. Under Australian law, state-run firms seeking to buy Australian companies have higher hurdles to jump than private ones.
The Chinese-speaking Rudd is under some pressure at home about his links to China. Some on the Australian right are mumbling that he's the "Manchurian candidate." That's silly, but it's also silly to be calling for continued open markets in Washington, while easing the door shut at home.
China, of course, shouldn't escape blame. It recently blocked Coca-Cola Co.'s bid to buy its biggest domestic juice maker -- China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd. On March 24, Chinese officials denied the decision was aimed at protecting a national brand, but few believe that line .
How do you say Hawley-Smoot in Chinese?