Business & Economy

China calls to end Australia trade thaw after 3 years

Beijing, May 14 (EFE).- China’s commerce minister called on Australia for both countries to resolve their differences and revive trade between them on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, state media reported Sunday.

Wang Wentao made the comments to his Australian counterpart Don Farrell during the 16th China-Australia Economic Commission held Friday in Beijing and which had been paralyzed since 2019, according to a ministerial statement.

Wang said the economies of both countries are “highly complementary” and their economic and trade cooperation has been “fruitful,” for which he asked to find “common ground.”

He also said China is willing to expand the areas of collaboration with Australia, while calling on Australia to give Chinese companies fair treatment.

For his part, Farrell highlighted the bilateral advances in recent times to improve trade relations and address the main differences between the two countries, according to a statement from the commerce ministry.

The Australian trade minister said his country is open to further strengthening cooperation with China in regional and multilateral organizations such as the World Trade Organization.

During the meeting, Wang and Farrell agreed to reactivate the bilateral committee on the Free Trade Agreement, strengthen environmental and carbon reduction cooperation, and support relations between Chinese and Australian companies in the automotive and digital trade sector.

Australia and China have made significant progress in the last year to resolve the trade dispute they have had since 2020, which led to the imposition of mutual tariffs in many sectors, including Australian wine. It led also to the unofficial suspension by the country of Australian imports in various fields.

In recent months, trade in products such as coal, cotton and copper has resumed, while negotiations on barley are advanced, according to official Chinese sources.

Despite the restrictions, bilateral trade in goods with China totaled some AUD 287 billion ($194 billion) in 2022, according to official Australian figures.

The measures were imposed in 2020 after the government of then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched an investigation into the origin of Covid-19, although China, Australia’s main trading partner, denied this was the reason.

This rapprochement occurs despite the recent push for the AUKUS security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, which includes the Australian acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines.

The initiative is seen as a counterweight to China’s growing influence in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, among other geopolitical and ideological divergences. EFE


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