'Important window' opening for China-Australia trade: commerce ministry
Published: Feb 16, 2023 08:30 PM
Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce of China Photo: VCG

Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce of China Photo: VCG

An "important window" has opened up in the China-Australia economic and trade relationship, and both sides should work together to inject more positive factors into their cooperation, Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, told a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday. 

The comments came as Chinese companies began to import coal from Australia, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal. 

Shu said that China uses automatic licensing management for coal imports, and independent decisions by Chinese enterprises to import coal reflect a normal business practice.

China and Australia are important economic and trade partners, and their bilateral cooperation is mutually beneficial, Shu noted. 

The official said that China-Australia trade has been carried out normally, disclosing that in 2022, bilateral trade in goods exceeded $220 billion, bringing tangible benefits to the businesses and people of the two countries. 

"Compared with such a large scale of trade, it is normal for the two sides to have some concerns about each other in the field of trade. It is entirely possible to find mutually beneficial and win-win solutions through dialogue and communication," Shu said.

On February 6, Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao held a video conference with Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell to discuss the next stage of China-Australia economic and trade relations. 

Shu said that during that meeting, the two sides had a professional, practical and candid exchange on properly handling each other's key trade concerns, including exchanging views on WTO litigation cases that each side is concerned about, noting that China is willing to communicate with Australia on the technology issues of concern to each country in trade and seek win-win solutions.

"According to the consensus reached in the video conference between the ministers of the two countries, Tehan will visit China at an appropriate time this year, and the working teams of both sides are maintaining communications," said Shu.

In response to Australia's reported move of removing Chinese-made surveillance cameras from defense sites over the so-called national security fears, Shu said  that China has always opposed the wrong practices of generalizing the concept of national security, politicizing economic and trade issues, discrimination and suppressing Chinese companies, and it firmly supports Chinese companies in safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests. 

"We hope that Australia will work with China to provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies to conduct trade and investment in Australia, and inject more positive factors into China-Australia economic and trade cooperation," Shu said.

Global Times