China-Australia trade ministers hold 1st meeting since 2019

Feb 5, 2023, 9:19 AM | Updated: 11:46 pm
Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell, left, gestures as he speaks to China's Minister of Commerce,...

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell, left, gestures as he speaks to China's Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao during a meeting via teleconference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Australian and Chinese trade ministers held their first bilateral meeting in three years Monday as Australia urges China to lift official and unofficial barriers that are costing exporters 20 billion Australian dollars ($14 billion) a year. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

(Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

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

China has thawed its diplomatic freeze on Australia since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s center-left Labor Party was elected in May for the first time in nine years.

Albanese has urged China to demonstrate good will to his administration by lifting trade restrictions on Australian exports including wine, coal, beef, seafood, barley and wood.

Trade Minister Don Farrell said that behind closed doors, he and his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao had agreed to enhance dialogue at all levels as a pathway “towards the timely and full resumption of trade.”

“Our discussion covered a range of trade and investment issues, including the need for resumption of unimpeded trade for Australian exporters so that Chinese consumers can continue to benefit from high quality Australian products,” Farrell said in a statement after the teleconference meeting from Australia’s Parliament House.

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

“I’m looking forward to open and candid exchanges of views with you,” Wang told Farrell. “I’m also very much happy to extend an invitation to you to visit China at a time convenient to you. And I believe that your next trip to China will leave you with a different impression.”

Farrell accepted the invitation but did not nominate a date.

“The outcomes of our discussions have the potential to be of great benefit to both of our countries, and both of our consumers,” Farrell said.

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

“I wish to stress we will face up to the issues, but at the same time this meeting cannot resolve all of these issues,” Wang said.

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

“China will not make a trade-off on principled issues,” Wang said.

The trade barriers are widely regarded as punishment for the previous Australian government passing laws that ban covert foreign interference in domestic politics, for barring Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei from rolling out Australia’s 5G network due to security concerns and for calling for an independent investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albanese raised his 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 commodity 2 1/2 years ago were due to arrive in the country this week in the first clear sign Xi’s regime will roll back some sanctions on Australian exports, The Australian Financial Review reported.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
2 days ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
2 days ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
3 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
3 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
China-Australia trade ministers hold 1st meeting since 2019