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Progress made with China despite trade block: Treasurer

Treasurer Jim Chalmers says progress has been made with China on the removal of trade bans after the prime minister accepted an invitation for a state visit.

Image: Lukas Coch

Good progress has been made on stabilising a complex relationship with China as trade restrictions begin to be wound back, the treasurer says.

Beijing announced it would resume the import of Australian timber, while coal shipments have dramatically picked up since the start of the year. 

But the leaders of some of the world's most powerful economies drew the ire of Beijing over the weekend after the G7 issued a blistering statement condemning China's use of economic coercion and militarisation.

Asked whether Trade Minister Don Farrell should have returned from a recent trip to Beijing with greater movement on restrictions, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he wanted to see all remaining trade blocks lifted.

"Of course (Mr Farrell) made progress when he went to China," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"As the trade minister, he knows better than anyone the progress that has been made over the course of the last 12 months as we've engaged respectfully and tried to stabilise this complex relationship."

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said there needed to be certainty from Beijing about the dropping of trade impediments before the prime minister headed to China on a state visit. 

"Australia does deserve to have absolute clarity that these trade sanctions are going to be lifted and that that clarity should be there before the prime minister entertains a formal state visit to Beijing," he said on Sunday.

"We've had lots of good steps in terms of dialogue ... but there is a point where we should expect clear outcomes and that China should adhere to the terms of the China-Australia (free trade agreement) without seeking concession or conditions from Australia."


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