Five major Australian beef producers banned from exporting meat to China will be allowed to resume trade immediately, Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said, the latest move by Beijing to normalize economic ties with Canberra.

The Australian government was told on Wednesday night the trade restrictions would be relaxed, Watt told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. China lifted curbs on three other local beef shippers in December.

“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 in an ABC television interview Thursday.

Exports from two Australian meatworks remain restricted, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Don Farrell told Bloomberg. 

Australian beef was hit with trade restrictions, along with wine and barley, after relations rapidly deteriorated between Canberra and Beijing in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the election of the center-left Labor government in May 2022, diplomatic ties have improved and the majority of trade sanctions have been lifted. Still, rock lobster trade remains sanctioned. 

In 2017, after the China Australia free trade agreement was implemented, beef exports to China totaled more than 116,000 tonnes, worth A$832.5 million ($550 million), according to government statistics.