Chinese Trade Minister Zhong Shan ends a press conference at the State Council Information Office, after the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), in Beijing, China, May 18, 2020. REUTERS / Thomas Peter
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Trade Minister Zhong Shan said the two countries were in communication when asked about Australia’s request to discuss the issue of beef and wheat trade, amid rising tensions over the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in May, Australian trade minister Simon Birmingham requested a telephone call with Zhong after four large beef exporters were suspended by Chinese customs authorities.
Beijing has also proposed an 80% tariff for Australian wheat shipments amid deteriorating relations at Australia’s call for an independent investigation into the corona virus pandemic that emerged from China late last year.
Reporting by Stella Qiu and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Kim Coghill
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