*** ----> Chinese Premier Li touts trade in rare Australia visit | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Chinese Premier Li touts trade in rare Australia visit

AFP | Sydney, Australia

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

China’s Premier Li Qiang will toast a turnaround in trade ties with Australia yesterday by visiting a major winegrowing region that was hit by Beijing’s sanctions.

The highest ranking Chinese official to visit Australia in seven years, Li’s four-day trip offers the prospect of lucrative trade after Beijing lifted punitive measures against a string of major Australian exports.

China is by far Australia’s biggest trading partner, taking in nearly 30 percent of its exports last year including major commodities iron ore and coal.

Two - way trade reached Aus$327 billion (US$216 billion) in 2023. “Mutual respect , seeking common ground while shelving differences and mutually beneficial cooperation” were key to growing China-Australia relations, Li said on his arrival in Adelaide on Saturday.

“A more mature, stable and fruitful comprehensive strategic  partnership will b e a treasure shared by the people of both countries,” he said in a statement. The premier said he hoped to “explore cooperation opportunities, promote development and renew friendship”.

On Sunday, Li will visit winemakers in the famed Barossa region near Adelaide, hometown of Foreign Minister Penny Wong, who is credited with helping stabilise relations with China.

Wine was among a string of Australian exports, along with coal, wine, timber, barley, beef, and lobsters subjected to Chinese sanctions in 2020 during a diplomatic rift with the former conservative government. Those sanctions cost Australian exporters an estimated Aus$20 billion (US$13 billion) a year.