Australia and China: rocky road back to trade and visits | Inquirer Business

Australia and China: rocky road back to trade and visits

/ 04:11 PM November 03, 2023

Australian Prime Minisger Anthony Albanese

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to media following a Ministry Meeting, in Melbourne, Oct 11, 2023. AAP Image/Joel Carrett via REUTERS/File photo

SYDNEY  – Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will on Saturday become the first Australian leader to visit China in seven years, arriving after a period of badly strained relations with the aim of improving dialogue and stabilizing ties.

But difficult issues remain between the major trading partners and Albanese said he would raise concerns over rising tension in the South China Sea in a meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday.


The following is a timeline of relations between Australia and China over recent years:


Nov. 17, 2014 – Australia sealed a landmark free trade agreement with top trade partner China, concluding a decade of negotiations. It comes into effect in late 2015.

Dec. 5, 2017 – Australia, concerned about Chinese influence, announces ban on foreign political donations to prevent external interference in its politics.

Aug. 23, 2018 – Australia bans Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for its planned 5G broadband network, citing national security regulations.

April 2020 – Australia seeks support for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s then ambassador to Australia says that in response to the call, the Chinese public would boycott Australian wine, beef and tourism.

June 9, 2020 – China urges students going overseas to think carefully before choosing Australia, citing racist incidents, threatening a $27.5 billion market for educating foreign students.

August 2020 – Australian citizen Cheng Lei, a business anchor for Chinese state television in Beijing, is detained.


Nov. 27, 2020 – China will impose temporary anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine, China announces. Shipments of Australian live lobsters, timber and barley are also blocked or restricted around this time. China’s embassy lists 14 grievances with Australia, including the blocking of 10 Chinese investments on national security grounds.

December 2020 – Australia raises concern at WTO meeting about China’s measures to restrict or ban shipments of Australian barley, wine, meat, dairy, live seafood, logs, timber, coal and cotton.

May 22, 2022 – Australia’s Labor Party, led by Albanese, ends almost a decade of conservative rule with a general election victory.

Nov. 15, 2022 – Albanese meets President Xi Jinping on sidelines of G20 in Indonesia, first leaders’ meeting since 2016.

Dec. 21, 2022 – Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Beijing for first formal talks in China since 2018.

Jan. 3, 2023 – China allows three government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume coal imports from Australia.

May 11 – Australia’s Trade Minister Don Farrell arrives in Beijing for talks on removal of trade barriers.

Aug. 5 – China ends 80.5% tariffs on Australian barley.

Sept. 7 – Albanese meets Premier Li Qiang on sidelines of East Asia Summit in Indonesia.

Oct. 11 – China releases Australian journalist Cheng Lei after three years in a Beijing prison on national security charges.

Oct. 21 – Australia gives green light to Chinese company Landbridge’s 99-year lease on Port of Darwin after security review.

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Oct. 22 – China agrees to review dumping tariffs of 218% on Australian wine, potentially clearing way for the resumption of imports. Australia pauses WTO complaint.

TAGS: Australia, China, trade relations

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