Australia trade minister to travel to Beijing to meet counterpart

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SYDNEY, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Australia trade minister Don Farrell said on Monday he had agreed to an in-person meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Beijing in the near future, in the latest sign that relations between the two countries are thawing.

"Our meeting represents another important step in the stabilisation of Australia’s relations with China," said Farrell following a videoconference meeting, the first between the trade ministers of the two countries since 2019.

"Our discussion covered a range of trade and investment issues, including the need for resumption of unimpeded trade for Australian exporters so that Chinese consumers can continue to benefit from high quality Australian products."

The two ministers agreed to enhance dialogue at all levels, including between officials, as a pathway towards the timely and full resumption of trade, Farrell's office said in a statement.

Both parties agreed to look for further ways to cooperate, including on climate change and encouraging business delegations, the statement added.

The meet comes weeks after Chinese officials relaxed import bans on Australian coal as both countries work to improve diplomatic relations after more than two years of Chinese trade sanctions that have frozen trade in barley, coal and wine and other goods and services.

Reporting by Lewis Jackson and Alasdair Pal in Sydney; Editing by Stephen Coates

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Reports on breaking news in Australia and New Zealand covering the biggest stories across politics, companies and commodities. Previously wrote about equities at Morningstar.

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Alasdair leads the team covering breaking news in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Before moving to Sydney, he covered general news in New Delhi, where he reported from the front-line of the coronavirus pandemic in India and the insurgency in Kashmir, as well as extended periods in Pakistan and, most recently, in Sri Lanka covering its ongoing economic crisis. His reporting on Islamic State suicide bombings in Sri Lanka in 2019 was highly commended as the Society of Publishers in Asia awards. He previously worked as a financial reporter in London, with a particular interest in hedge funds and accounting frauds. Signal app phone number: +61439529540