Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has gained new power to veto or annul agreements reached by state governments with foreign countries under the law. These laws may hinder the progress of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Australia and further exacerbate tensions between the two trading partners.
The law passed by the Australian Parliament on December 8 will give the federal government the power to suspend previous and newly signed agreements signed by foreign governments and Australia’s eight states and territories, as well as local authorities and universities.
The report said that the Morrison government will be able to prevent or restrict foreign participation in a wide range of fields such as infrastructure, trade cooperation, tourism, cultural cooperation, science, health and education, including restricting research partnerships at universities. The initial goal is likely to be an agreement signed by the Victorian government in 2018 to join the Belt and Road Initiative.
These laws may further deteriorate Australia’s relations with its largest trading partner China.
Victoria Governor Daniel Andrews told reporters last week that his state government did not consider withdrawing from the Belt and Road Initiative because of the deterioration of relations between the two countries, according to the Australian Associated Press.
The report also said that in addition to the Belt and Road Initiative-related agreement signed by Victoria to increase China’s participation in new infrastructure projects, the law may allow the federal government to review and overthrow the investment, scientific cooperation and entry into Antarctica between Beijing and the governments of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. Memorandum of understanding signed in other fields.
According to Morrison, these states and territories have signed 130 agreements with at least 30 countries, which may be affected by the new law.
According to the report, the cooperation between Australian universities and Beijing-funded institutions may be cancelled.
Under this law, Morrison cannot cancel the agreement between the state government and commercial enterprises or state-owned enterprises. This means that the Northern Territory government’s agreement to lease Darwin Harbour to a Chinese company in 2015 cannot be overturned.
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