SAN FRANCISCO — AUSTRALIA has left China’s national anti-graft law, known as the “Anti-Corruption Law,” for the sake of its economic interests, a former Australian foreign minister has said.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s spokesman, David Leyonhjelm, said on Tuesday that Australia would continue to honour its bilateral agreement with China, despite the U of A’s withdrawal from the Anti-Corrupt Law.
The Australian government’s withdrawal is not a decision that will be taken lightly, he said.
“There will be no change to the bilateral agreement.
This agreement has been a very significant and important contribution to our bilateral relationship.”
The withdrawal from China’s “Anti Corrupt Law” was the result of Australia’s decision to sever ties with the Asian nation, and leave it to its own internal legal system to implement anti-nepotism measures.
“The withdrawal of Australia from China is not an endorsement of the anti-social behaviour that has been taking place on our soil,” Leyonhrm told reporters at the White House.
Australia had not ratified the agreement, which was negotiated between China and the United States.
China has been pushing Australia to ratify the agreement since December, but its efforts to block Australia’s withdrawal were thwarted by the United Nations General Assembly.
Since then, Australia has been under pressure from China to ratifying the agreement.
Chinese officials, however, have denied the allegations, claiming that Australia is acting in its self-interest.
However, Leyonhwilm said Australia’s bilateral agreement is a “significant contribution” to Australia’s relationship with China.
He said Australia remains “open to dialogue with China on issues such as the environment, energy and cybersecurity” and will continue to seek dialogue with Beijing on issues like the TPP.
Leyonhwelm said the withdrawal from anti-Graft Law would not mean Australia would abandon the TPP or the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Despite the withdrawal, Australia still plans to have bilateral trade with the U: Australia’s free trade agreement with New Zealand, which will end in 2019, is still in effect.
While the United Kingdom and Canada remain in the European Union, Australia is still free to have free trade agreements with all countries, including Australia, but the EU does not.
More to come.