The Australian government has lodged more than 10,000 pages of documentation with Beijing to try and resolve issues with exports of barley and beef, but Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is still waiting to hear back from his Chinese counterpart on the issue.
Australia's relationship with its major trading partner is often tense, but has been extra strained recently after China threatened to introduce tariffs on barley imported from Australia, and banned beef from four abattoirs across Queensland and NSW.
Speaking on the ABC on Sunday, Senator Birmingham confirmed he had requested a discussion with his Chinese counterpart, but despite communication between governments, an actual discussion between ministers is yet to take place.
"The call ought to be returned," he said.
"The Australian government is always open for thoughtful and engaging dialogue with our international partners, including where we may disagree. And it is ultimately up to them as to whether or not they decide to reciprocate in kind."
China's stances on barley and beef are officially linked to anti-dumping and labelling and health requirements respectively, but there are fears the moves are actually retaliation for Australia's push for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.
The minister said he understood why people sought to link the issues but he took "at face value" the Chinese government's reasons for the ban on beef and restrictions on barley.
Australian exporters have looked on with concern as the tensions with the country's biggest export market have shown little sign of abating, and the minister said Australian businesses need to consider the risks of relying on the Chinese market.
"They need to balance the risk and reward of whom they trade with," Senator Birmingham said.
"Ultimately, that is a commercial decision for each individual business as they engage in that. I would, of course, encourage businesses, where they can see equal reward or similar reward, by spreading their risk across numerous markets, to do so."
Avoiding labelling China as too risky, Senator Birmingham said off the back of "some unpredictable regulatory interventions" Australian businesses "would start to consider whether the risk profile has changed and may therefore look at other markets".
Managing director of Shaw Wines Graeme Shaw said around 20 per cent of his company's business came from China, but the risk profile for him wasn't changing.
"I think everyone's got to assess the risk profile for wherever they work," the Murrumbateman winery owner said.
"We're always looking at different markets but at the moment it's business as usual in China and progressing quite well."
Mr Shaw said bigger businesses were more likely to feel repercussions and he had enough stock in a warehouse in Shanghai to last until the end of the year.
"There's been a lot of political posturing from all parties for a long time, not just on this," Mr Shaw said.
The winery exports stock directly to consumers, and that relationship hadn't changed.
"With the people we deal with there's been no change, it's all at a political level," he said.
"Ourselves and our customers aren't taking much notice of it."
Meanwhile Australia's push for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 has gained momentum, with the European Union also joining calls for an inquiry into how the virus started in Wuhan late last year.
The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation, is set to meet virtually on Monday, with the worldwide response to the virus top of the agenda.
Labor's trade spokeswoman Madeleine King on Sunday said the government had "dropped the ball" on the relationship with China.
"It's up to the government to think about how it might fix it.," she said
"But what doesn't help is freelancing from backbenchers with their intemperate remarks."
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