Repair to China trade ties will take time: Minister

Don Farrell says repairing ties with China over trade will take time, ahead of a trip to Beijing.

Don Farrell says repairing ties with China over trade will take time, ahead of a trip to Beijing. Photo: AAP

Repairing ties with China will have to be taken “a little bit at a time”, according to the trade minister, ahead of a looming visit to Beijing.

Don Farrell said it was reassuring bans on some Australian goods from entering China, such as coal and lobster, were being eased following years of sanctions.

However, he indicated it would still take time for all of the sanctions to be lifted.

“We have to take this a little bit at a time, obviously relations have deteriorated over the last few years,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.

“There’s a whole lot of positive signs in a whole range of products that indicate that bit-by-bit, these issues are going to be resolved.”

High-level talks between Australian and Chinese officials took place on Thursday, with reports Senator Farrell could be heading to Beijing for further talks on removing the sanctions in coming weeks.

The trade minister participated in a virtual link-up with his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao earlier this month.

Shortly after the virtual meeting Australian coal was imported into China, while other industries have reported applications for imports into the country have not been rejected.

An estimated $20 billion of sanctions have been imposed on Australian goods such as beef, barley and wine.

Senator Farrell said he wanted to see trade relations with China back to normal after long periods of tensions between the two countries.

“The problems didn’t occur overnight. They’re not going to be resolved overnight,” he said.

“Right across a range of industries, I think there’s a positive sign there (but) we’ve got to go further. We want all of these impediments removed and we want to get back to that normalised trading relationship.”

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt told Sky News despite the positive signs of the thawing relationship, there was still a long way to go before all sanctions were lifted.

“Even despite the problems that we had with China, it remained our major trading partner and we want to make sure that all Australian producers have access to as many markets as possible,” he said.


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