China has removed import suspensions on a handful of Australian beef processing plants in the latest relaxation of controls on the country’s exports.

Australia’s government said five unidentified beef processing facilities have had their suspensions removed, taking the total to eight, although controls remain on two other processing plants.

“We continue to press China to remove the remaining trade impediments, including for Australia’s rock lobster industry,” Murray Watt, Australia’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, said in a joint statement with trade and tourism counterpart Don Farrell.

“The Australian government’s approach is to cooperate with China where we can, disagree where we must and engage in our national interest.”

China imposed import restrictions on a host of Australian exports in 2020 in retaliation to the Prime Minister at the time, Scott Morrison, calling for an international inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, the Asian country began this year to relax restrictions amid negotiations with the 2022 installed Labour government led by Anthony Albanese.

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“Trade impediments imposed by China prior to the May 2022 election resulted in a A$20.6bn ($13.7bn) reduction in exports,” according to the joint statement. “China’s progressive removal of impediments since then, including today’s announcement, means less than A$1bn worth of exports remain impeded.”

Speaking live on the ABC News channel last week, Watt said: “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.

“The work that we’ve done to stabilise our relationship with China is paying real dividends for our farmers, our processors…”

He added that the latest relaxation by China will bring in an additional A$3bn for government export coffers. Chinese Premier Li Qiang is due to visit Australia later this month for talks with Prime Minister Albanese.

“What we’ve worked out is that even so far over the last few months with the different export bans that have been lifted by China that has worked out to an extra A$3bn in extra exports,” Watt said.

The Australian government said the prior lifting on controls applying to products such as barley, cotton, “oaten hay”, wine, coal, copper ores and logs amounted to more than A$11.5bn.