The officials agreed to “strengthen the dialogue” in order to ensure “the full and timely resumption of trade.”
Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell on Monday had the first virtual negotiations since 2019 with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, according to the Australian government statement cited by Bloomberg.
“Our meeting represents another important step in stabilizing Australia’s relations with China,” Farrell said. He added that Canberra and Beijing agreed to “strengthen dialogue” in order to ensure “the full and timely resumption of trade.” In addition, the Australian minister accepted Wang’s invitation to visit China “in the near future” to continue negotiations.
On the eve of the meeting, Farrell had said he would raise the issue of restrictions imposed by Beijing against various Australian products, including wine, barley, lobster and coal. However, China has not confirmed these bans officially and has always stated that its restrictions are in line with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In January, China’s ambassador to Canberra, Xiao Qian, said that if Chinese companies wanted to buy coal from Australia, they would take this decision. Meanwhile, they reported that China’s main coal buyer, China Energy Investment Corp., in January bought at least two Australian coal tankers.