Australia Approves China’s Farm Purchase

The Australian government recently approved the purchase of a large-scale cotton farm by a Chinese textile group, sparking debates about globalization and international investment.

As the global economy becomes more and more integrated (thanks in part to breakthroughs in communications technology), the economies of major nations have become intertwined, with investment firms breaking down national borders through international investments and free trade agreements.

The proposed Chinese purchase is an example of this increasingly global economy. The Australian cotton farm in question, a major agricultural powerhouse with more than 390 square miles of land worth more than $500 million, has been burdened by more than $300 million of debt and has been in government administration since 2009. The Chinese investment would help protect continued production on the farm and could be a major boon to the local economy. In the words of Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, “The proposal would bring an end to this long period of uncertainty, helping ensure the ongoing operation of Cubbie Group, protecting jobs and supporting economic activity.”

Opposition to the deal, however, has been fierce, with opponents of the Labour government claiming that the sale will transfer control of a major agricultural resource away from Australia. This level of hostility is hardly unique to Australia. When the United States debated expanding free trade agreements to Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, several American agricultural groups protested, claiming that the agreements would harm American jobs and would do more to help foreign investment than stabilize the American economy.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer