(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s trade minister raised hopes that the lobster trade with China could restart within months amid a rapid thaw in diplomatic and economic relations between the countries.

Trade Minister Don Farrell told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday that Beijing had not rejected a recent application by Australia for fresh lobster exports to China. It was the first time since 2020 that a request for an export permit hadn’t been quickly denied, the ABC reported, without saying where it got the information. 

The Chinese government has not made a final decision yet on whether to issue a permit. Beijing was considering resuming the multimillion-dollar trade in March, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing people familiar with the matter.

China placed trade sanctions on a number of lucrative Australian exports after then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Since then, agricultural exports including wine, barley and lobsters have faced difficulties entering the Chinese market.

Read: Australia, China Trade Ministers Hold First Talks Since 2019

On Monday, Farrell met his Chinese counterpart, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, for virtual talks where both agreed to aim for the “the timely and full resumption of trade.” 

The news comes as a shipment of Australian coal was scheduled to dock in the southern Chinese city of Zhanjiang on Thursday, the first such arrival in more than two years.

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