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International relations

Australia trade minister to travel to Beijing to meet counterpart

Discussions to include 'resumption of unimpeded trade' with China: Farrell

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell, left, speaks with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao during a videoconference meeting at Parliament House in Canberra on Feb. 6.  (AAP Image via AP)   © AP

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell said on Monday he had agreed to an in-person meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Beijing in the near future, in the latest sign that relations between the two countries are thawing.

"Our meeting represents another important step in the stabilization of Australia's relations with China," said Farrell following a videoconference meeting, the first between the trade ministers of the two countries since 2019.

"Our discussion covered a range of trade and investment issues, including the need for resumption of unimpeded trade for Australian exporters so that Chinese consumers can continue to benefit from high-quality Australian products."

The two ministers agreed to enhance dialogue at all levels, including between officials, as a pathway toward the timely and full resumption of trade, Farrell's office said in a statement.

Both parties agreed to look for further ways to cooperate, including on climate change and encouraging business delegations, the statement added.

The meet comes weeks after Chinese officials relaxed import bans on Australian coal as both countries work to improve diplomatic relations after more than two years of Chinese trade sanctions that have frozen trade in barley, coal, wine and other goods and services.

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