Rio Tinto/China getting ugly

The Rio Tinto/China situation is getting ugly as four Rio Tinto price negotiators, first detained in China on July 5th on suspicion of espionage, are still in custody without external communication. Unclear whether actual espionage occurred, and to what extent ulterior motives are in play (punishing Rio Tinto for the failure of the Chinalco deal comes to mind, as does simple leverage in the always-contentious iron ore price negotiations), but whatever the murky truth, China does not come out of this looking good, especially as a destination for private investment.

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