16th Joint Ministerial Economic Commission, Beijing

  • Media release

On Friday I co-chaired the 16th Joint Ministerial Economic Commission in Beijing, with my Chinese counterpart, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao.

This was the first in-person meeting between Australian and Chinese Trade Ministers since 2019, and follows a constructive virtual meeting in February where Minister Wang and I agreed that enhanced dialogue was the pathway to the timely and full resumption of trade.

The recommencement of trade and investment dialogue under the Joint Ministerial Economic Commission, last held in 2017, represents an important further step towards the stabilisation of Australia's bilateral relationship with China.

Minister Wang and I had a constructive and candid discussion on matters of importance to the Australian people, including consular cases.

I pressed Australia's position for the timely resolution of remaining trade impediments, which would be in the interests of both countries.

Minister Wang confirmed that China's expedited review of barley duties is on track. I reaffirmed that we expect a similar process to be followed to remove trade barriers for Australian wine.

I achieved what I came here for - to find a pathway to resolve the remaining trade impediments.

Minister Wang and I agreed to step up dialogue under our existing free trade agreement and other platforms to stabilise the trading relationship, including by convening the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Commission, which was last held in 2017.

We agreed on the value of the bilateral High Level Dialogue on Trade Remedies and discussed opportunities for further cooperation, including on climate change, digital trade and e-commerce, and WTO reform.

I asserted that Australia welcomes high-quality investment and applies the same risk-based approach to any country, in accordance with our national interests.

I invited Minister Wang to visit Australia, and I am pleased to confirm he accepted my invitation to visit at the next suitable opportunity.

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