Two-way street for investment

RECENT high levels of two-way investment between Australia and the US would be further enhanced by a free trade agreement, according to the Australian APEC Study Centre.

Centre spokesman Alan Oxley said increased investment was likely despite a tradition of scepticism regarding foreign investment in Australia.

“We have some tradition in this country of scepticism and anxiety about foreign investment,” he said.

“It has always puzzled me as to why we get anxious about foreign investment or even for that matter about globalisation.

“I can’t think of a country that is more dependent on freedom of movement of goods, bringing in foreigners — we are a migrant nation — all of those things upon which we’ve thrived and will continue to thrive.

“The truth is that we’ve never had any other sort of money.”

CCIWA chief economist Nicky Cusworth said there were many investment benefits for WA associated with an FTA.

“We get enormous benefits from overseas investment into this State,” Ms Cusworth said.

“With our local population of less than two million we simply don’t have a financial base to support, or the financial expertise to support, all of the activities that are economically viable here.

“That is not to say that we don’t have good local, home-grown investment. We do, but we need to have that topped up with foreign investment.

“It is not just dollars that foreign companies provide. They bring people, they bring ideas, they bring technologies and expertise.

“All of that is tremendously important for WA, especially because the international environment is becoming more competitive.”

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