Australia says exports of hay to China will resume

Australia's Trade Minister Don Farrell attends a press conference following a meeting with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, in Beijing, China May 12, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool/File photo

CANBERRA (Reuters) – The Australian government said on Thursday that China was removing barriers to imports of hay from Australia, the latest step towards normalising trade relations between the two countries.

China restricted imports of a range of commodities from Australia in 2020 after Australia called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 but began to remove these barriers following a change of government in Canberra last year.

Australian exports of commodities including barley, coal and timber to China resumed earlier this year but barriers remain on wine, lobsters and meat from some abattoirs.

“This is another positive step forward, but there is more work to do,” Trade Minister Don Farrell was quoted as saying in a joint statement with the agriculture ministry.

“I will continue to persevere and press for all outstanding impediments to be removed as soon as possible,” he said.

The statement said some steps were yet to be finalised before shippers would be able to export.

Australia exported hay and chaff worth A$78 million ($50 million) to China last year, down from A$160 million in 2020, and Australia’s total hay and chaff exports in 2022-23 were worth A467 million, the ministries said.

The United States last year exported hay worth $698.8 million to China, 18% more than the year before, trade data show.

More Stories