Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has described Joe Hockey’s decision to block the GrainCorp takeover as “pathetic”.

Joe Hockey’s decision to block the foreign takeover of GrainCorp has put politics before economics because he is too “weak” to stand up to his own divided government, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says.

In blocking Archer Daniels Midland’s $3.4 billion offer for Australia’s largest grain handler, the treasurer said it would not be in the national interest and risked undermining public support for foreign investment more generally.

Mr Bowen described it as a “pathetic” response from a weak treasurer.

“Foreign investment decisions are controversial and difficult but a good treasurer makes the tough decisions,” he told reporters in Sydney.

He said Mr Hockey should be explaining the need for foreign investment to create jobs in Australia.

“A good treasurer does not come out and say it’s in the national interest to block this foreign investment because it is not popular,” he said.

“Today Joe Hockey said Australia is not open for business. The claims by this government that they would lure back investment into Australia lie in tatters.”