The trade ministers of Australia and China have held talks about trade relations between the two countries for the first time since 2019. According to the Australian government, the talks are another vital step in stabilising diplomatic ties with China.
Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell and his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao spoke for more than 90 minutes in a virtual meeting on Monday. As a result, both sides agreed to continue talks to ensure the full resumption of trade between the countries. During the meeting, Farrell also accepted an invitation to visit Beijing in the near future for further talks.
Farrell said earlier that he would use the conversation with Wang to discuss current sanctions against Australian exports of products such as wine, barley and lobsters. During the conversation, Wang indicated that China is ready to restart trade and economic communications with Australia. The Chinese trade minister also called the talks an essential step in getting economic and trade relations back on track.
Beijing imposed trade sanctions on Australia in 2020 following a call by then Prime Minister Scott Morrison for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus. However, relations between Canberra and Beijing have steadily improved since the election of Australia’s centre-left government in May last year.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Bali last November. There have also been talks between top officials in defence and foreign affairs. In addition, Chinese companies are said to have resumed coal imports from Australia.