Australia Might Ask China to Lift Trade Restrictions

Australia's PM Anthony Albanese told ABC Radio on Friday of possible talks with China's Xi Jinping ahead of his departure to Cambodia for the East Asia summit, asserting that Beijing must lift "counterproductive" trade sanctions on his country.

Australia Might Ask China to Lift Trade Restrictions
Image credit: Getty Images [via Sky News]

Facts

  • Australia's PM Anthony Albanese told ABC Radio on Friday of possible talks with China's Xi Jinping ahead of his departure to Cambodia for the East Asia summit, asserting that Beijing must lift "counterproductive" trade sanctions on his country.
  • According to Albanese, both countries would be better off if China removed the $20B in sanctions on Australian goods. However, he confirmed that Australia wouldn't enter any discussions without preconditions.
  • This comes as Canberra works on arranging a breakthrough meeting between Albanese and Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali next week or at the APEC summit in Thailand immediately afterward.
  • China's foreign minister Wang Yi told his Australian counterpart, Penny Wong, on Tuesday that both countries should rebuild trust and put their relationship back on track by addressing each other's legitimate concerns and global challenges.
  • The PRC is Australia's biggest trade partner, but relations have deteriorated in recent years, with Beijing imposing sanctions on Australian exports after former Australian PM Scott Morrison sought an international probe into the origins of COVID in 2020.
  • The leaders of both countries last met in person in 2019 when Morrison encountered Xi at the G20 summit in Osaka before tensions strained their relationship.

Sources: Sky News, SMH, AFR, Reuters, Al Jazeera, and SCMP.

Narratives

  • Pro-China narrative, as provided by China Daily. Some Australian political forces have purposely damaged bilateral relations with China by characterizing Beijing as an adversary and a threat, banning Huawei and joining the US's confrontational Indo-Pacific strategy. Albanese's efforts to mend relations will be a welcome move as dialogue and cooperation are in the best interests of both sides.
  • Anti-China narrative, as provided by Australian Financial Review. The PRC boasts of the importance of mending its bilateral relations with Australia but has become increasingly internationally aggressive and domestically interventionist. A successful meeting could send an important signal that Beijing isn't inclined to roll back globalization or split the world into opposing blocs, but it remains to be seen if a meeting will even take place.