China hopes Australia can take actions to promote trade relations – commerce ministry
BEIJING (Reuters) – China hopes Australia can take pragmatic actions to create favourable conditions for the healthy and stable development of bilateral trade relations, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday.
China expects Australia to adopt the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit, ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting told a news conference.
The comment came after Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong had earlier said the new government in Canberra was “willing to engage” with China, but added it wanted the trade blockages that China has taken against Australia to be lifted.
China has imposed trade sanctions on Australian products ranging from coal to seafood and wine in response to policies and decisions including Australia’s call for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and its 5G network ban on Huawei.
But the recent meeting between Wong and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi signalled a first step towards stabilising the relationship, according to Wong.
In 2021, bilateral trade value totalled $231.2 billion, up 35.1% year-on-year, Chinese official data showed. China’s imports from Australia grew 40.6% to $164.82 billion.
Due to supply concerns over Western-led sanctions on Russia, Chinese officials are proposing to end a near two-year ban on importing Australian coal, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
A Chinese news site sxcoal.com also said that talk of China ending its unofficial ban on imports of Australian coal had intensified in recent days.
(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet and Hugh Lawson)