China slams Australia for violating bilateral free trade agreement

BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has violated the principles of market economy and the spirit of the bilateral free trade agreement, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday.

File photo: CGTN

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a daily news briefing when asked to comment on Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg vetoing China State Construction's bid for Australian building contractor Probuild on the grounds of national security.

"This is another example of the Australian side politicizing trade and investment issues and discriminating against Chinese enterprises," said Zhao, adding that Australia's behavior damaged not only the development momentum of China-Australia practical cooperation but also the nation's image and reputation.

Zhao stressed that mutual benefit with win-win results is the essence of China-Australia economic cooperation, noting that the Chinese government always requires Chinese enterprises to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations when cooperating with foreign countries.

"Any practice politicizing normal commercial cooperation and political interference on the pretext of national security is completely wrong," said the spokesperson.

"We hope the Australian side will adhere to the principles of open market and fair competition, and provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for enterprises of all countries including China," he added.