China on Wednesday said its trade practices are "lawful and legitimate", in response to calls by Australia for it to drop import restrictions if Beijing wants to thaw frozen relations.
Australia's Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Chinese sanctions and tariffs are damaging the country's economy, a day after Premier Li Keqiang congratulated newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
"We would certainly like to see those sanctions and those tariffs lifted ... They are making life harder for some of our employers and workers here in Australia," Chalmers said.
"That would be a really great start when it comes to how we manage what is a really complex relationship, a relationship that has become more complex over time."
Shortly after Chalmers' remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing that China's measures on foreign imports were taken "in strict accordance" with Chinese laws and World Trade Organization rules.
"We hope Australia will uphold the principle of mutual respect, mutual benefit and 'win-win' cooperation in dealing with the relationship with China, and work with us to bring relations back to the right track of sound and stable development," Wang added.
Tensions between the two countries have been high after previous administrations in Canberra called for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and banned telecoms giant Huawei from building Australia's 5G network.
China – Australia's biggest trading partner – responded by imposing tariffs or disrupting more than a dozen key industries, including wine, barley and coal. (Agencies)