Trade on agenda as Chinese Premier and PM Albanese meet

Sheep Central June 17, 2024

TRADE was on the agenda as Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held an historic meeting in Canberra this morning.

During the meeting both leaders exchanged views on Australia-China relations, as well as on important regional and international issues.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang

The leaders reaffirmed their support for the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, on the tenth anniversary of its establishment, and reiterated the importance of a mature, stable, and constructive bilateral relationship.

China imposed  trade barriers on Australian wine, beef, barley and rock lobsters that cost Australian exporters up to $20 billion a year after the then-Morrison government urged an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID pandemic. The restrictions on wine, beef (partial) and barley have now been lifted.

The leaders agreed to continue to grow the bilateral relationship and uphold their respective national interests. They agreed both sides would continue to navigate their differences wisely, a joint statement issued this afternoon said.

The leaders acknowledged the importance of regular engagement between leaders, ministers and officials on both sides in support of the ongoing stabilisation and development of the bilateral relationship.

They confirmed plans to resume the Strategic Economic Dialogue in 2024 and attached importance to cooperation under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

The leaders witnessed the signature of MOUs on Education and Research, Climate Change, the Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, Further Enhancing the Implementation of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Among other issues, the leaders  agreed to continue or expand engagement in bilateral trade, including through the leaders’ participation in the China-Australia CEO Roundtable meeting in Perth tomorrow.

The leaders agreed to convene the next Annual Leaders’ Meeting in 2025. Australia welcomed the invitation of the Chinese side for Australian leaders to visit China at a mutually convenient time.

Here’s a quick summary of statements made by the two leaders this morning:

Dialogue front and centre

“My Government has put dialogue at the centre of Australia’s relationship with China because it is always most effective when we deal directly with each other,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

“That’s how we make progress on our shared interests and protect regional stability. Without dialogue, we can’t address any of the differences that arise between us. Australia and China have renewed and revitalised our engagement. We’ve agreed across a range of MoUs and arrangements today that will continue to shape and drive our practical cooperation as we continue the process of stabilising the relationship.”

We’ve also agreed on several arrangements to deepen our economic, trade and investment relationship through dialogue on economic issues and work under our Free Trade Agreement,” he said. Trade supports one in four Australian jobs and China remains overwhelmingly Australia’s largest trading partner. Australian farmers, miners and exporters are already seeing the benefits from the removal of trade impediments, benefits that flow throughout our economy.”

Chinese consumers too are benefiting from being able to buy our high quality exports. Trade between our two nations will continue to help Australian businesses grow.

Australia advocates that we should all work together to promote a regional balance where no country dominates and no country is dominated. A region where countries large and small operate by the same rules, rules that we have all had a say in shaping. I’ve made it clear as nations with different histories, political systems and values, we will cooperate with China where we can, disagree where we must and engage in the national interest.”

Multiple meetings shows importance of relationship

Chinese Premier Li Qiang said in less than one year, Prime Minister Albanese and he had met multiple times and exchanged visits to each other’s country.

“This shows that both countries attach great importance to our relationship and that this relationship is on the right track of steady improvement and development. Just now, Prime Minister Albanese and I had a candid, in depth and fruitful meeting and reached a lot of consensus. We both agreed to uphold the right characterisation of our bilateral relationship and consolidate its momentum of improvement and development,” he said.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to defining this relationship as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, to mutual respect and trust and to viewing and handling this relationship in a positive attitude. We also had a candid exchange of views of some differences and disagreements and agreed to properly manage them in a manner befitting our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

We both stand for expanding mutually-beneficial cooperation and enhancing the vitality and durability of China-Australia relations. This relationship is essentially characterised by mutual benefit and results. The two sides just signed a number of cooperation documents on trade, education, climate change, culture and intellectual property. We will make good use of such dialogue mechanisms such as the Strategy Economic Dialogue, the joint Ministerial Economic Commission and the Free Trade Agreement Committee to address each other’s economic and trade concerns and provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for our companies,” Premier Li said.

“Both sides are committed to maintaining the WTO centred and multilateral rules-based trading system, jointly keep global industry supply chains stable, advancing the implementation of RCEP and promoting regional economic integration.”

China will work with Australia in a spirit of mutual respect, seeking common ground while showing differences and mutual benefit to build a more mature, stable and fruitful Comprehensive Strategic Partnership so as to bring more benefits to our two peoples.”



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -