Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Tess Ikonomou

Positive sign for China trade relationship

The "signs are positive" for China to drop its $20 billion worth of trade sanctions against Australia, although a breakthrough is yet to occur, Trade Minister Don Farrell says.

Senator Farrell said on Thursday he would be happy to visit China for talks with his counterpart Wang Wentao to try to resolve the trade issues through discussion rather than arbitration.

"I've made it very clear that we're happy to meet at any time, at any place, and we'll just see what the response by the Chinese government is to that," he told ABC radio.

"The ball is now in the Chinese government's court."

The four main Australian export products at the centre of the dispute with Beijing are barley, wine, meat and crayfish.

"So we want to resolve those issues ... the signs are very positive but we haven't made a breakthrough yet," Senator Farrell said.

"Time will tell just how we finally resolve these outstanding issues."

However, the federal government wouldn't withdraw two World Trade Organisation complaints against China in exchange for a better relationship with Beijing.

"We intend to proceed with those cases before the World Trade Organisation," Senator Farrell said.

"We would prefer to sit down and discuss the issues with the Chinese government and, obviously, if that opportunity arises then we'll take the opportunity to meet with them and discuss outstanding issues."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the government was negotiating "in good faith" with China.

"It is in Australia's national interest and the interests of our jobs for the relationship with China to improve and for any impediments which are there to be removed," he told Nine's Today Show.

"We'll continue to argue Australia's case as we do, consistently."

Mr Albanese said he expected Senator Farrell would meet with his Chinese counterpart soon.

Meanwhile, the Australia-India free trade agreement, which activates on Thursday, will deliver new market opportunities for Australian businesses as tariffs on 85 per cent of exports are eliminated.

"We've had a very long-standing and positive relationship with India, of course ... and we want to build upon those good relations," Senator Farrell said.

Mr Albanese plans to travel to India next year.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said it was a good thing dialogue had reopened, with the aim to resolve the trade disputes.

"That's good for the producers and manufacturers here in Australia, but we shouldn't be doing it in a way that just throws everything across to the other side of the table," Mr Dutton told 4BC Radio.

"We shouldn't surrender our national interests and the prime minister should really bear that in mind."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.