The Australian government announced earlier this week that is in in the process of preventing Japan’s Kirin Holdings from selling one of its most prominent Aussie beverage units to a Chinese company in what is being seen as the latest in a string of tit-for-tat measures adding tension to increasingly sour Canberra-Beijing relations over the past few months.
The proposed 45.6 billion yen sale of the Japanese drinks giant’s Australian subsidiary Lion Dairy and Drinks “would be contrary to the national interest” according to Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in a statement released by his office.
No further details were offered as to the reason behind Mr. Frydenberg’s comments.
Both Kirin and China’s Mengniu Dairy Co have since said they now plan to cancel the potential sale with a statement released by the Japanese company saying “Given this approval has not been secured to date and is unlikely to be forthcoming at this time, regrettably, the parties have agreed to terminate the agreement,″ – an indirect reference to the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board having the final say on such deals.
The decision by Mr. Frydenberg did come after the nation’s Foreign Investment Review Board had approved the sale earlier in the year, but when asked about his decision ahead of his public announcement, the treasurer refused to comment on details in the case.
In recent months accusations have been flying back and forth between Canberra and Beijing on trade issues as varied as wine exporters from Australia receiving government subsidies and claims of ‘dumping’ barley on the Chinese market; a move supposedly taken in retaliation for an earlier beef-import row between the two nations.