The crop is seen in a barley field at a farm near Moree, in New South Wales, Australia
The crop is seen in a barley field at a farm near Moree, an inland town in New South Wales, Australia October 27, 2020. Reuters

Australia has reached an agreement with China to resolve their dispute over barley imports, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Tuesday, the latest sign of improving ties between the countries.

Australia will suspend its case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) while China conducts a review into duties imposed on the grain, Wong told a news conference.

"China has agreed to undertake an expedited review of the duties imposed on Australian barley over a three-month period, that may extend to a fourth, if required," she said.

"In return, we have agreed to temporarily suspend the WTO dispute for the agreed review period."

The government expects a similar result in a second dispute on wine tariffs, she added.

Australia lodged a formal complaint with the WTO in 2020 over anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by China on Australian barley, one of several sources of friction between the two countries in recent years.

Relations have thawed since the centre-left Labor party won power in Australia last year, with Wong meeting her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing in December, the first such visit by an Australian minister since 2019.