CHINESE DIPLOMAT: AUSSIE WINE TARIFF NEGOTIATIONS GOING ON IN GENEVA
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Chinese negotiators in Geneva have proposed to their Australian counterparts to drop complaints at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Chinese tariffs on wine and barley and resort to resolve the issues bilaterally, according to China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian.
Speaking to Australian journalists at a New Year press gathering in Canberra, the Chinese ambassador thanked Australia’s ruling Labour government for an 'extraordinary year' and hinted at China’s willingness to rebuild relations.
“As we improve our relationship, as we develop our relationship, we’ll come back to a normal kind of relationship,” Xiao told reporters.
"We do have differences in certain respects, we even have disputes in certain areas like trade disputes but both sides agree to address these differences in a constructive manner," Xiao said.
"By that I mean we can address the differences in a way that will not allow the differences to hijack the overall relationship between our two countries, not allow them to hijack the cooperation between our two countries," he added
China has banned Australian wine, barley, beef, coal, copper, cotton, seafood, sugar and timber after former Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison called for an independent international inquiry into China on the origin of the coronavirus.
Australia has since filed two complaints with WTO against the punitive tariffs imposed by China on Australian wine and barley. The WTO is expected to deliver its findings on these two complaints later this year.
Relations between Australia and China began to thaw after current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had a sideline meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Bali in November last year during the G20 meeting.
Beijing has in this week allowed three state-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume coal imports from Australia.
If talks in Geneva go smoothly, Australian winemakers can also expect normalisation of their trade with China in the months ahead.
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