China hits back at Australia over blocked power grid sale

Beijing (dpa) - The Australian government's decision to block the purchase of an energy grid by two Chinese firms will deter companies from investing in the country, China's Commerce Ministry warned on Wednesday.

The decision had an obvious "protectionist bent," according to the transcript of a news briefing by the Ministry of Commerce.

"The Ministry of Commerce hopes Australia will try to provide a fair and transparent investment environment for Chinese companies," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang was quoted as saying.

The comment follows a similar statement by Chinese authorities to The Australian newspaper on Wednesday.

The Chinese embassy in Australia said that Beijing was "highly concerned" by Treasurer Scott Morrison's preliminary decision to block the purchase of 50.4 per cent of electricity network company Ausgrid for 10 billion Australian dollars (7.6 billion US dollars).

Citing national security concerns, Morrison announced last week that preferred bidders China State Grid and Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings would not be allowed to buy Ausgrid.

Last update: Wed, 17/08/2016 - 12:22

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