China and Australia ease conflict; agricultural exports partly resumed

China lifts anti-dumping duties on barley from Australia. In return, Australia relinquishes its claim to the World Trade Organization. This was announced by the WTO in Geneva.

Trade relations between Australia and China are thawing, which is also benefiting agricultural exports, which have been frozen until now.

The relaxation comes ahead of a major visit to Beijing by new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. No date has yet been set for this, and it is still unclear whether it will be an (exceptional) state visit or a (regular) working visit.

For Australian agriculture, a thaw in refrigerated trade relations is a welcome development. China used to be an important market for Australian grain, especially barley.

A new Labor government has been in power in Australia since last year. Earlier this year, China had already started re-importing Australian coal and other commodities.

Three years ago, China imposed hefty fines on Australian dairy and agricultural imports in an angry response to Australia's plea for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in China. As a result, trade virtually came to a standstill.

Political tensions between the two countries had increased significantly in recent years due to several issues.

For example, the Chinese are not happy that Australia has joined the fleet of the US Navy in Asian waters to contain the expansion of the Chinese sphere of influence towards Taiwan and the Philippines. The European Union has also ended up in that waters of the US-Chinese trade confrontations.