China Lifts Import Ban on Australian Timber
In a sign of improving diplomatic relations, China has lifted its ban on the import of Australian timber. The ban was put in place in 2020 as part of a series of restrictions on Australian commodities during a period of heightened tensions between Beijing and Canberra. The move to lift the ban was announced by Beijing’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, who told reporters in Canberra that China would immediately resume imports of Australian timber.
“Yesterday, the Chinese Customs have formally notified the Australian Minister of Agriculture that starting from today, China will resume import of Australian timber,” Xiao said at a press conference on Thursday.
The lifting of the ban on Australian timber is seen as a positive development in the ongoing efforts to improve relations between China and Australia. The two countries have been at odds over a range of issues, including trade, human rights, and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian government welcomed the decision to lift the ban, with Agriculture Minister David Littleproud saying it was a “positive step forward” in the relationship between the two countries.
“This is a positive step forward in our trading relationship with China, and we welcome this decision,” Littleproud said in a statement.
The lifting of the ban is expected to benefit Australian timber exporters, who have been hit hard by the restrictions imposed by China. The ban had a significant impact on the industry, with many exporters forced to find new markets for their products.
The move to lift the ban on Australian timber comes amid a broader push by China to improve its relations with Australia. In recent months, Beijing has taken steps to ease tensions with Canberra, including lifting restrictions on some Australian exports and engaging in high-level talks with Australian officials.
Despite these positive developments, however, there are still significant challenges facing the relationship between China and Australia. The two countries remain at odds over a range of issues, including China’s human rights record, its territorial claims in the South China Sea, and its treatment of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
In addition, Australia’s decision to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network has been a major point of contention between the two countries. China has accused Australia of being a pawn in the United States’ efforts to contain China’s rise, while Australia has accused China of engaging in economic coercion.
Despite these challenges, both sides have expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue and work towards a more positive relationship. The lifting of the ban on Australian timber is a positive step in this direction, and it is hoped that it will lead to further improvements in the relationship between China and Australia.