China and Australia Trade Surges with Double-Digit Growth Amid Improved Ties

China and Australia Trade Surges with Double-Digit Growth Amid Improved Ties
Photo by Pedro Szekely

China-Australia trade has accelerated with imports and exports recording double-digit growth compared to the previous year, due to improved bilateral relations, Chinese state-backed Global Times reported.

According to data released on Tuesday by China's General Administration of Customs, trade between China and Australia totaled 259.7 billion yuan ($37.47 billion) in the months of January and February.

Products such as iron ore, beef, and coal from Australia, as well as consumer goods such as toys and fashion items from China, were the primary sources of new growth, experts told Global Times. They predict that trade between the two countries will further strengthen in the upcoming months as companies regain confidence and pursue mutually beneficial outcomes.

According to customs data, China and Australia's trade volume from January to February saw a 15.7 percent year-on-year increase, indicating a trend of recovery amid improved bilateral relations and China’s reopening from the stringent zero-COVID policy.

China's exports to Australia increased by 12.2 percent to 85.18 billion yuan, while imports from Australia grew by 17.5 percent to 174.52 billion yuan.

After years of strained relations, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao stated that his meeting with Australian counterpart Don Farrell in January was a significant step towards restoring bilateral economic and trade ties.

The meeting came after Chinese officials relaxed import bans on Australian coal - a positive step forward after more than two years of Chinese trade restrictions on a variety of Australian exports, including barley, lobster, and wine, Reuters reported.

But Global Times said, despite the recent positive momentum in bilateral trade, uncertainties still exist that need to be resolved for restoring full market confidence.

The Australian government's approach to Chinese investment in areas like rare earths continues to cause concern among Chinese investors. In February Australia blocked Chinese investment in rare earth firm citing national interest.

Sources told Reuters that Australian officials have expressed concern about the concentrated supply chain of critical minerals, which is predominantly controlled by China. Australia, which is the world's largest supplier of lithium and a significant producer of rare earths, was expected to exercise greater caution in granting permission for investment in its critical minerals industry.