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Former Oz PM Howard warns government not to get 'mesmerized' by China

Perth , Wed, 02 May 2012 ANI

Perth, May 2 (ANI): Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard questioning the importance Australia gives China has warned that it should not get 'mesmerized' by the Asian nation.

Addressing around 500 delegates at a lunch on meeting the Chamber of Minerals and Energy in Perth, Howard said he had learned to maintain perspective during his 11 years as prime minister.

Admitting that a global fascination for China exists, he said Australia should lose its sense of reality or perspective.

"When you look at the Australian economy over the last forty to fifty years, it's fair to say that we owe more to Japan than we do to China, quoted Howard as saying.

"In more recent years China has overtaken Japan and has become the best market for Australia," Howard added.

Howard said that Australia has to remember that China was facing its own domestic challenges, both political and economic, and an ageing population.

"We need to have good relations with China, we need to be pragmatic in our dealings with China," Howard said.

"The idea that China will continue to grow exponentially and overwhelm the United States is misplaced," he said.

The former prime minister also slammed the federal government's minerals resource rent tax and carbon tax.

He claimed to be 'agnostic' when it came to whether global warming was taking place, but said the tax rate of 23 dollars a tonne on carbon was 'absurd' and was potentially damaging to the resources industry.

Some of the biggest threats to the mining industry were bad policy and industrial relations, which was tilted towards collective bargaining, Howard added. (ANI)

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