A stock photo of beef.

In the latest move to normalize trade ties with Australia, China has lifted its ban on beef export from two more abattoirs with immediate effect.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has revealed that Beijing has removed the export ban, following which, the five major Australian exporters can resume beef export to China, Bloomberg reported.

In December 2023, China had eased exports from three local shippers, while limiting two others.

"That is fantastic news for Australia's cattle producers, for our meat processing industry, for the workers in those industries and, of course, for Australian exports," Watt said.

China banned Australian exports after Canberra demanded a probe into the origin of the Covid virus, and urged the Asian country to permit investigators into Wuhan in 2020. In retaliation, China restricted several exports, including wine, lobster, meat products and barley, from Australia.

Currently, China's beef market is dominated by supplies from South America, with Brazil accounting for half of the market share. Hence, Australian export amounting to 8% may not immediately impact the market structure. However, it will throw open more choices for Chinese consumers, pointed out Alice Xuan, an analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Ltd.

As per government data, Australia beef exports to China had totaled more than 116,000 tons worth AU$832.5 million ($550 million) in 2017.

In 2020, before the trade sanctions, meatworks had generated trade worth AU$1 billion, ABC News reported. Since the trade war between the two nations began, China suspended meat from 10 Australian abattoirs.

China is yet to remove sanctions on the export of rock lobster and red wine from Australia.

Welcoming China's move, Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) CEO Patrick Hutchinson said, "After four years of advocacy and hard work on the behalf of red meat exporters we have finally achieved a fantastic result."