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mainland-based corporations the situation has become exceptionally problematic. The General Manager of the International Cooperation Department at Sinosteel, for example, argues ‘that on the surface the Australian government guidelines have not changed but its treatment indicates, to him, a profound change in policy has occurred.73 He also points out that Sinosteel is under considerable pressure to accept a

49.9% limit Sinotsteel’s arrangement

it its ownership battle over Murchison, an entity whose land marches already approved Midwest acquisition. 74 Not only does such an severely limit Sinosteel’s capacity to deliver clear commercial objectives,

it also curtails the systematic emergence of competition. In a

development of the infrastructure and curtails the scathing aside, the Sinosteel manager wonders ‘how

much an approach economy’.

can

be

consistent

with

Australia’s

conception

of

itself

as

a

market

D

The Limits of Transparency

The most considered policy framework to address the symbiotic nature of the problem of SWF regulation has been proposed the European Union.75 Its proposed code of conduct suggested the need for common disclosure standards in both host and recipient countries. These are designed, specifically, to ensure policy coherence within recipient nations (i.e. a common definition of what constitutes the public interest). There are sound policy reasons for advocating such an approach. The European Union President, Jose Manuel Barroso, has warned that support for open markets is waning

across the community.76

In this context, the absence of an overarching agreement on

what constitutes the national interest risks the further politicisation of foreign investment review processes across the European Union.77 The fear is that any further advance of economic populism and protectionist rhetoric at national level may distort the authority and credibility of wider competition policy. This, argues the European Commission, is counter-productive to collective strategic interests. Such lofty aspiration is not, however, matched by realities on the ground.

As the OECD has commented, transparency, ‘involves offering concerned parties the opportunity to comment on new laws and regulations, communicating the policy objectives of proposed changes, allowing time for public review and providing a means to communicate with relevant authorities.’78 Moreover the OECD maintains the need for international cooperation. This is necessary ‘to ensure policy transparency by defining common standards [procedural fairness] and providing support for

73

Jiang Baocai, Sinosteel (Interview, Beijing, 5 September 2008),

74

See above n 65 and accompanying text.

75

Commission of the European Communities, above n 21.

76 L Barber and T Walker, ‘Barroso Protectionism Alert’, Financial Times (London), 3 March 2008, 1. This echoed earlier calls at a summit in London between the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy to reject ‘futile attempts to stem financial globalisation’; see G Parker, T Barber and B Benoit, ‘Barroso Tells EU Leaders to Avoid Protectionism’, Financial Times (London), 31 January 2008, 1. See, more generally, P Stephens, ‘Uncomfortable Truths for a New World of Them and Us’, Financial Times (London) 30 May 2008, 9.

77 The chairman of China Investment Corporation, Lou Jiwei, has ruled out investment across parts of Europe, because he ‘feels extremely unwelcome there’; see B Davis, ‘China Investment-Fund Head Says Focus is on Portfolios’, Wall Street Journal (New York), 1 February 2008, A13.

78

OECD, above n 63 at 2.

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