Australia Commerce Minister Seeks to Mend Ties on Go to to China – The Diplomat


Oceania | Financial system | East Asia

China just lately resumed imports of Australian coal, cotton, and copper, and Minister Don Farrell has mentioned he would push for a evaluate of tariffs on Australian barley.

Australia Trade Minister Seeks to Mend Ties on Visit to China

Australian Commerce and Tourism Minister Don Farrell arrives in Beijing, China, Could 11, 2023.

Credit score: Fb/ Don Farrell

Australian Commerce and Tourism Minister Don Farrell held conferences and visited companies in Beijing on Friday, in an indication of progress in restoring a virtually decade-long rift in relations with China.

Farrell met with Chinese language Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, amongst others, following a dedication in February to enhance dialogue “in any respect ranges as a pathway in direction of the total resumption of commerce.”

In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese mentioned on Friday that the 2 sides must “develop understanding and dialogue and I’ve mentioned we’ll cooperate with China the place we will, we’ll disagree the place we should, and we’ll have interaction in a nationwide curiosity.”

China is Australia’s greatest buying and selling associate, with two-way commerce totaling US$287 billion in 2022. China just lately resumed imports of Australian coal, cotton, and copper, and Farrell has mentioned on his go to he would push for a evaluate of tariffs on Australian barley.

China blocked such imports in retaliation for strikes concentrating on alleged Chinese language interference in Australian elections and political life and in social organizations within the giant Australian-Chinese language group.

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Whereas commerce ties appear to be bettering, the 2 international locations stay far aside on political and safety points within the Asia-Pacific area.

On his arrival Thursday, Farrell mentioned he hoped his go to would “proceed that strategy of stabilizing our relationship and work by means of a profitable pathway for the decision of all of our excellent commerce variations.”

“The problems didn’t happen in a single day they usually’re not going to be resolved in a single day,” he mentioned.

At a information convention late Friday, Farrell mentioned he raised concern over the circumstances of Cheng Lei, a Chinese language-born Australia journalist who previously labored for China’s state broadcaster, and Yang Jun, a Chinese language-Australian author additionally know by his penname, Yang Hengjun. Each are underneath detention in China with solely obscure accusations lodged towards them and no phrase on after they is likely to be tried or launched.

In April, Australian Overseas Minister Penny Wong mentioned bilateral relations have been unlikely to return to the extent of the early 2000s, when commerce was separated from political and strategic priorities.

Since then, Australia has expanded safety cooperation with the US, China’s major rival for affect within the Asia-Pacific.

Beijing has strongly criticized Australia’s participation within the so-called AUKUS partnership, which hyperlinks it with the US and Britain to create an Australian fleet of eight submarines powered by U.S. nuclear expertise, largely in response to China’s rising navy assertiveness within the South China Sea, the South Pacific and the East China Sea.

Albanese will host U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of India and Japan – international locations with which China has lively land and sea border disputes – for a Could 24 summit of leaders of the so-called Quad nations.

Australia has additionally blocked the sale of belongings, together with essential infrastructure, to Chinese language firms on nationwide safety grounds in recent times.


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