17 Mar. 2008

China Plays Hardball

We wouldn't let the Chinese government buy our big mining companies, so now they won't let our big mining companies sell iron ore into the lucrative Chinese daily spot market:
The conflict threatens to escalate into a diplomatic row. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are urging Kevin Rudd to intervene when he arrives in Beijing for his first prime ministerial visit next month.

The visit is looming as a stiff test of Mr Rudd's foreign policy finesse. He will also be expected to explain his views on surging Chinese investment in Australia and the bloody conflict in Tibet - while cementing ties with China's leaders.
The real battle here is a money game between Beijing and Big Business:
The boycott appears aimed at stopping BHP and Rio from selling ore on the daily spot market at roughly double the long-term contract price.
Rudd is just a minor player.