BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has warned Australian miners to expect a surge of competition from rival countries selling to China, as the Asian giant strengthens business and diplomatic ties with a number of mineral-producing nations.
In Beijing, Mr Mackenzie told The Australian China’s growing relationship with Latin America, especially Brazil, could be a risk to Australia’s export levels in future.
Mr Mackenzie said Australian producers needed to ensure their Chinese customers were confident that security of supply would not be affected over the next few years.
Mr Mackenzie chaired a high-level meeting with Premier Li Keqiang and 14 top global chief executives at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday to examine China’s economic transformation. The Chinese government has put in place an official target for the economy to grow by 7 per cent this year.
Mr Li recently returned from a lengthy trip to Brazil, where the two countries signed trade deals worth $US50 billion ($64bn), primarily in improving export infrastructure.
“I think the risk has always been there, but one of the things is that when we think about how the world is evolving … the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) countries are becoming more interesting,” Mr Mackenzie said.
“There are strengthening ties between the countries where they want to have a lot more independence. We have to recognise the growing sphere of influence the BRICs have, and they are becoming a little bit less dependent on doing things the Western way.”
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