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Sino-Australian trade ministers hold first meeting since 2019

Sino-Australian trade ministers hold first meeting since 2019


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) Australian and Chinese trade ministers held their first bilateral meeting in three years on Monday as Australia urges China to lift official and unofficial barriers that cost exporters 20 billion Australian dollars (14 billion) per year.

China has unfroze its diplomatic freeze on Australia since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the centre-left Labor Party was elected in May for the first time in nine years.

Albanese urged China to show goodwill to his administration by lifting trade restrictions on Australian exports, including wine, coal, beef, seafood, barley and timber.

Trade Minister Don Farrell said behind closed doors he and his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao agreed to strengthen dialogue at all levels as a path to the rapid and full resumption of trade.

Our discussion covered a range of trade and investment issues, including the need for unhindered trade to resume for Australian exporters so that Chinese consumers can continue to benefit from high-quality Australian products, Farrell said. in a statement after the Australian Parliament teleconference meeting.

During the introductory phase of the meeting open to the media, Wang invited Farrell to meet in China.

I look forward to having an open and candid exchange of views with you, Wang told Farrell. I am also very happy to invite you to visit China at a time convenient for you. And I believe that your next trip to China will leave you with a different impression.

Farrell accepted the invitation but did not name a date.

The results of our discussions have the potential to be of great benefit to both our countries and our two consumers, said Farrell.

Wang said the meeting’s priority should be to build mutual trust.

I want to stress that we will face the problems, but at the same time, this meeting cannot solve all these problems, Wang said.

Although Wang noted that while common ground should be sought, some issues cannot be resolved.

China will not compromise on matters of principle, Wang said.

The trade barriers are widely seen as punishment for the previous Australian government which passed laws banning covert foreign interference in domestic politics, for preventing Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from rolling out Australia’s 5G network due to security concerns. safety and for calling for an independent investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albanese raised concerns about trade blockages in November when he took part in the first formal bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping by an Australian government leader since 2016.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong in December became the first Australian foreign minister to visit China in four years.

The first shipments of Australian coal to China since Beijing imposed an unofficial ban on the product 2½ years ago were due to arrive in the country this week in the first clear sign that Xi’s regime will roll back some sanctions on coal. Australian exports, The Australian Financial Review reported.




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