Coalition to consider loosening foreign investment rules

APN NewsdeskFOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has not ruled out loosening the Abbott Government's new foreign investment rules to secure a free trade agreement with China.

The agreement, which Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he wants completed within 12 months, would bring an end to an eight-year wait.

But neither Ms Bishop nor Finance Minister Andrew Robb have ruled out allowing China to negotiate different rules during FTA meetings.

The more stringent rules were a demand of Coalition partners The Nationals, and include a clause to make all foreign investments above $15 million subject to independent scrutiny.

But asked on the ABC on Friday if the rules would be on the table, Ms Bishop would not rule out loosening regulations on Chinese foreign investment.

"Our policies were public before the last election and I have no doubt that China is aware of the different policy positions of parties," she said.

"But a free trade agreement involves a negotiation."

Her comments come after the National Farmers Federation president Duncan Fraser urged the government to ensure all commodities were included in the negotiations.

He said foreign investment was likely to become a bargaining chip, but urged any consideration to be "open and transparent' and in the national interest.


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