Australia's decision to block the $7.7 billion sale of the country's biggest energy grid to Chinese bidders has prompted a warning from China about the impact on investment. Britain is facing a similar dilemma and Ivor Bennett looks at why.
The setting may've been calm but the words certainly weren't. China clearly doesn't like being snubbed. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) COMMERCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, SHEN DANYANG, SAYING: "This kind of decision is clearly protectionist and seriously impacts the willingness of Chinese companies to invest in Australia." The comments come after Australia blocked the sale of its biggest energy grid to two Chinese bidders. The deal for Ausgrid would've been worth nearly 8 billion US dollars. but Australia pulled out citing unspecified security concerns. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) COMMERCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, SHEN DANYANG, SAYING: "Australia has repeatedly said they welcome Chinese investment but its actions tell a different story. The Ministry of Commerce hopes Australia will create a fairer and more transparent environment for Chinese investment." It's the second time in less than a month Beijing has been left smarting. They were supposed to help fund the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Britain. But new Prime Minister Theresa May put the plans on hold at the last minute. Perhaps it's no surprise China's upset, as it struggles to maintain growth. But some see this as a blessing in disguise. SOUNDBITE (English) IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK, JAN RANDOLPH, SAYING: "It's the better balance of growth that's still more important longer term for the country but I think they've lost sight of that and they've relied more on traditional stimulus measures - investment and credit growth. But that in itself will not solve what are structural problems for China." Potentially problems too for Australia. China is their biggest source of foreign investment, generating infrastructure projects and jobs. But there are fears that dependency will come at a cost, and for now, they're not willing to pay.