(Bloomberg) -- Chinese and Australian officials will meet in Beijing next week for talks related to their trade dispute, Guardian Australia reported.

The discussions will be “highly technical,” the paper said, citing Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres. Ayres was speaking from China where he attended the Boao Forum this week, and met Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen.

Frosty trade relations between the countries have shown signs of thawing since Australia’s center-left Labor government was elected in 2022. Sanctions placed on Australian exports in 2020, following calls by then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison for an international Covid-19 investigation, have already been eased on commodities like coal.

Trade impediments were “damaging” regional Australian communities which haven’t been able to find alternative markets for their produce, Ayres told the Guardian.

Next week’s talks will include officials from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and China’s Ministry of Commerce, according to the report. 

Australia’s Trade Minister Don Farrell and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao held virtual discussions in February, the first between top trade ministers on both sides since 2019. Farrell is expected also expected to head to Beijing this month to discuss a further relaxation of restrictions on Australian exports, including lobsters and wine.

Farrell has said he doesn’t expect Australia’s plans to buy a fleet of nuclear submarines under the so-called Aukus agreement to derail progress in rebuilding relations with China. 

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