Farell’s Beijing trip creates “pathway” to trade resumption but nothing concrete as yet

May 15, 2023
By Rachel White

Trade Minister Don Farrell returns from a whirlwind trip to China without securing any hoped-for trade concessions for Australian exports, including wine and barely, among others.

Farrel said his meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, the first in-person meeting of Trade Ministers since 2019, was a constructive and candid discussion encompassing matters of importance to Australia, including trade and consular cases.

“I pressed Australia’s position for the timely resolution of remaining trade impediments, which would be in the interests of both countries,” said Farrell.

Despite the fact no trade impediments were resolved, Farrell said his mission was a success.

“I achieved what I came here for – to find a pathway to resolve the remaining trade impediments,” he said.

During talks, Minister Wang confirmed China’s expedited review of barley was well underway, with Farell insisting he expects “a similar process to be followed to remove trade barriers for Australian wine.”

Farrell said both parties agreed that bilateral trade was valuable to both countries and discussed opportunities for further discussions on climate change, digital trade, e-commerce, and World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform.

“Minister Wang and I agreed to step up dialogue under our existing free trade agreement and other platforms to stabilise the trading relationship, including by convening the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Commission, which was last held in 2017,” he said.

Farrell assured his Chinese counterpart there was no opposition to Chinese investment in Australia and that his Government encourages high-quality investments in line with Australia’s national interests.

“I invited Minister Wang to visit Australia, and I am pleased to confirm he accepted my invitation to visit at the next suitable opportunity,” said Farrell.

Photo Credit: DFAT

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