02 June, 2023
Australian delegation heads to China for trade talks


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In a sign of thawing diplomatic relations with Beijing, a second Australian minister will travel to China this week raising fresh hopes of an end to punitive tariffs on the nation’s goods.

Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres will on Tuesday travel to China for this year’s Bo’ao Forum for Asia dialogue, leading a business delegation that includes mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and Treasury Wine Estates chief executive Tim Ford.

It follows Trade Minister Don Farrell’s virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart last month and Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s visit to Beijing in December.

Senator Wong’s trip to China was the first visit by an Australian minister in three years.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will also jet off to China this week but it’s understood the trip is separate from the one being led by the federal government.

China maintains trade sanctions worth $20 billion on exports.

Beijing has also expressed its opposition to Australia’s $368 billion plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under a security pact with the US and the UK.

Last meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in January, Senator Ayres said he looked forward to discussing how to leverage opportunities in the “fastest-growing region in human history”.

“China is Australia’s largest trading partner and the Albanese government continues to advocate for the timely and full resumption of trade to China, which is in the interests of both countries,” he said.

“My participation in the forum is the first for an Australian government minister since 2016 and is another important step in the stabilisation of Australia’s relations with China.”

Senator Ayres said he would use a panel discussion on the future of clean energy to spruik Australia’s climate change action and vast supply of the natural resources needed to decarbonise economies.

He said this left Australia “well-positioned to seize the economic and jobs opportunities presented by the global clean energy transformation”.


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