| 19 April 2024, Friday |

China willing to restart trade dialogue with Australia after talks

Wang Wentao, the minister of commerce for China, said discussions with his Australian colleague Don Farrell on Monday were a critical step in improving the bilateral economic and trade relationship, which had been strained in recent years.

Farrell stated following the first trade ministerial discussions between the two nations since 2019 that the virtual meeting “represents another crucial step in the stabilisation of Australia’s relations with China.”

Last month, Chinese officials relaxed import bans on Australian coal as both countries work to improve diplomatic relations after more than two years of Chinese trade restrictions on a range of Australian exports including barley, lobster and wine.

Wang said China is willing to restart the mechanism facilitating dialogue with Australia on economic and trade issues and to expand cooperation in emerging areas including climate change and the new energy sectors.


“At present, the economic and trade relations between the two countries are facing an important window period… the meeting is a significant step to push China and Australia economic and trade relations back on track,” Wang said in a statement released by his ministry following the talks with Farrell.

China’s top economic planner in May 2021 suspended all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue which was an important forum for Australia and China to work through issues relevant to bilateral economic partnership.

The Chinese statement said Australia was also willing to work with China to enhance mutual trust and resolve differences through candid dialogue.

In addition, China attached great importance to the Canberra’s security review of Chinese companies’ investment and operations in Australia, expecting Canberra to provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese firms.

Wang described China and Australia as important economic and trade partners, with a highly complementary economic structure, making cooperation mutually beneficial.

The exchanges between the two ministers were “professional, pragmatic and candid”, according to the statement.

Farrell said had agreed to an in-person meeting with Wang in Beijing in the near future.

  • Reuters