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Australia tightens foreign investment rules on power, farms

Australia tightens foreign investment rules on power, farms

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government has announced tighter controls on foreign investment in electricity grids and farmland two years after Chinese buyers were blocked from high-profile corporate takeovers in both sectors.

The government said in a statement Thursday that new restrictions will apply to foreign companies bidding for Australian electricity transmission infrastructure and some generators. It said diversity of ownership of such critical national assets safeguards national security.

It said companies selling Australian farms and ranches will have to advertise to Australians first.

China criticized the government for blocking Chinese bids for Australia's largest cattle empire and a Sydney electricity grid in 2016.

A Chinese foreign ministry official said Thursday that Beijing hopes "countries will provide a favorable, open, fair and transparent environment for Chinese enterprises' investment."