China to resume Australian timber imports, PM Albanese plans Beijing visit
China has announced plans to recommence imports of Australian timber, with discussions also taking place regarding a potential visit by Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Beijing.
The timber trade between the two countries, which was once worth US$407 million annually, has been largely halted since late 2020 due to China citing pest issues in shipments from various Australian ports. The Australian Labor government is seeking a resolution to the unofficial bans and tariffs imposed on Australian exports such as coal, timber, and lobster during a low point in diplomatic relations.
Ambassador Xiao Qian said…
“Yesterday, the Chinese customs formally notified the Australian minister of agriculture that starting from today China will resume the import of Australian timbers.”
The decision to reopen China to Australian timber follows a recent visit to Beijing by Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell. Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s trip to China in December was succeeded by a resumption of coal shipments just weeks later.
Xiao revealed that discussions about a visit by Albanese are in progress, expressing hope that it would occur “as early as possible”. He added, “The Chinese side, the Australian side we are keeping in touch with each other through diplomatic channels so we can find out the time that will be convenient for both sides.”
The ambassador also anticipates increased travel between officials from both nations during the latter half of the year, including Australian state premiers, the leader of Sichuan province, and a high-ranking figure from Shanghai.
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