China lifts ban on Australian beef exporters in latest sign of thaw | Agriculture

The move follows the lifting of restrictions on imports of Australian coal, timber and barley.

China has lifted an import ban on five Australian beef producers, the Australian government said, the latest sign of a thaw after years of tense relations between Beijing and Canberra.

“China has lifted the suspension of five Australian meat processing establishments. “This is good news for our producers and affirms the calm and consistent approach taken by the Albanian Labor government,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement on Thursday.

In 2020, Chinese authorities imposed restrictions on a range of Australian imports, including coal, wine, barley and rock lobsters, after then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international investigation into the origins. of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Beijing insisted the measures were related to trade-related issues such as dumping, the restrictions were widely seen in Australia as a political move to punish Canberra.

Many of the restrictions have been lifted since Anthony Albanese, leader of the center-left Labor Party, took over as prime minister in 2022, after nearly a decade of Conservative rule.

China was Australia’s second-biggest international beef market last year, with exports worth about $1.6 billion, according to Australian trade data.

Wong said suspensions had been lifted for eight beef processing facilities, while two facilities remain subject to suspensions.

“We have made clear that it is in the interests of both Australia and China to remove remaining trade impediments,” he said.

Wong said less than $1 billion in Australian exports were now being hindered, compared to a $20.6 billion reduction in exports previously.

The measure comes after Chinese authorities announced in March the lifting of high tariffs on Australian wine, following the removal of restrictions on imports of coal, timber and barley.

Australian lobsters are one of the last products subject to the unofficial trade ban.

The Chinese embassy in Canberra did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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