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‘This is about getting answers’: Trade minister presses China to join COVID-19 inquiry

Relations between Australia and China are under the microscope as countries around the world join in calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.

The push for an investigation into COVID-19 comes as China suspends imports from four Australian abattoirs and warns of heavy tariffs for our barley industry.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told Ben Fordham he has put out a call for a discussion with China but “they’ve not agreed at this stage”.

Mr Birmingham said that won’t stop him from putting the strongest arguments forward to keep the tradelines open as much as possible.

With 116 countries now backing an international inquiry into the pandemic, Mr Birmingham said it sends the message to China it’s “purely about understanding what happened [and] how it’s been handled around the world”.

“This has always been about a much bigger issue… hundreds of thousands of people around the world have died… the least anybody should want is to have a full investigation.

“We hope that everybody, including China, will ultimately engage in this investigation.

“This is about getting answers for all of us.”

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Image: Getty

More than 60 countries back Australia in push for COVID-19 inquiry