Saturday, March 2, 2024

Australian minister to press China on trade barriers, Yang Hengjun sentence

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Australia’s trade minister on Tuesday said he would meet his Chinese counterpart at a World Trade Organization conference in Abu Dhabi later this month and push for the removal of restrictions on imported Australian wine, lobsters and meat.
Don Farrell also told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) he would talk to Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao about the suspended death sentence given to Australian writer Yang Hengjun earlier this month.
Farrell said the Australian government was “appalled” by the conviction and sentence over espionage charges but that it should not derail relations between the two countries.

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Beijing court hands down suspended death sentence to Australian writer Yang Jun for spying

Beijing court hands down suspended death sentence to Australian writer Yang Jun for spying

Beijing has removed most of the trade barriers it imposed on Australian goods after Canberra called for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. Restrictions remain only on wine, lobsters and meat from a small group of abattoirs.

“The Australian government continues to press for the removal of all remaining trade impediments affecting Australian exports to China,” Farrell said in a statement.

“I look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with my Chinese counterpart, Minister Wang Wentao, at the World Trade Organization conference this month.”

The WTO meeting in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates will take place from February 26 to February 29.

While Beijing has lifted most of the trade barriers it imposed on Australian goods in 2020, restrictions remain on lobsters, wine and some meat. Photo: AFP

Farrell told the ABC that if China did not remove its tariffs on Australian wine by March 31, when a review of them by Beijing is due to end, Canberra would renew its challenge against them at the WTO.

“We will immediately resume our World Trade Organization dispute, and we’ve made that very clear to the Chinese authorities,” he said.

On Yang, Farrell told the ABC: “The Australian government was appalled by the conviction and the penalty of Mr Yang, but we have embarked upon a project process of stabilising our relationship with the Chinese government. And we will continue that process.”

Farrell’s office did not comment further.

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