China urges Australia to take concrete action to improve ties amid reported trade shift
Published: Jul 14, 2022 06:12 PM Updated: Jul 14, 2022 06:10 PM
China Australia Photo: VCG
China Australia Photo: VCG

Chinese officials on Thursday declined to confirm foreign media reports about a potential shift in certain Chinese trade moves regarding Australia, and they again called on Canberra to take concrete action to improve bilateral ties and create a favorable condition for bilateral cooperation.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Chinese officials were studying an end to trade measures against Australian coal due to "supply fear." 

Asked about the report at a press conference in Beijing, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, referred the question to competent departments, while reiterating that China hopes Australia will seize the opportunity in bilateral relations and take concrete action to improve bilateral ties. 

Some foreign media outlets have also reported that Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has stated that China should cancel "trade bans" against Australia to improve bilateral ties. 

Responding to these reports at a separate press conference in Beijing on Thursday, Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for China's Commerce Ministry, stressed that relevant trade remedy cases referenced by the Australian side were all undertaken in line with WTO rules and are in line with Chinese laws and regulations as well as international norms.

Shu noted that the healthy and stable development of China-Australia relations is in line with the fundamental interests and common aspirations of the two peoples.

"It is hoped that the Australian side can review the past, face the future, uphold the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win results, take concrete action, and meet China halfway to create favorable conditions for the healthy and stable development of bilateral economic and trade relations," Shu said.

As Australia has continued to adopt a hostile approach toward China, bilateral relations have deteriorated sharply. The market share of Australian coal has been gradually taken over by imports from Russia, Indonesia and the US, customs data showed.

Declining imports of coal from Australia represent a small part of the worsened bilateral trade picture. In the first half of 2022, China-Australia trade dropped 3.1 percent year-on-year to $106.5 billion, according to Chinese customs data. While China's total imports increased by 5.7 percent in the first six months, imports from Australia plunged 12.3 percent year-on-year.

Global Times