Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his government wants to restart dialogue with Beijing, as a series of trade reprisals from China strain the already-weakened relationship between the two countries. “We, of course, would like to see the dialogue that was occurring to continue again and start again,” Morrison said at a press conference on Saturday at the G7 leaders meeting in the UK , according to a transcript sent by his office. “ Australia is always ready to sit around the table and talk through how our partnership can be made to work.” Ties between Canberra and Beijing, which became strained in 2018, nosedived last year when Morrison’s government called for independent investigators to probe the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and criticised Chinese actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang . That spilled into trade reprisals from China, including tariffs of more than 200 per cent on Australian wine for five years since March. Morrison said this week his government is seeking to take World Trade Organization action to resolve the dispute. In a radio interview on Thursday, the Australian prime minister said “barley producers in Australia, winegrowers in Australia, have been targeted with trade sanctions that we believe are completely unconscionable”. Beijing has said that Australian wine was being subsidised and sold under market value, a view that has been rejected by the Australian government. China’s reprisals at Australia have hit a range of other commodities including coal, beef, barley and lobster. China was the top buyer of Australian wine before Beijing imposed tariffs, buying close to A$1 billion (US$773 million) worth of wine in 2019, about 40 per cent of all wine exports. China’s ‘unconscionable’ trade sanctions warrant action, Australia’s PM says Australia’s attempts to make contact with Chinese authorities have repeatedly failed. In an interview on Sky News on Sunday, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said he wrote a letter in January to his Chinese counterpart laying out ways they could constructively engage. “I’m still waiting for a response,” he said. Before the G7 gathering, Morrison said he would seek support from other global leaders to counter what he called “economic coercion”. At a meeting with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the summit, Morrison discussed what he called issues of “mutual concern” that included the Indo-Pacific region. Can an underperforming Australian dollar help shift trade away from China? Australia announced it was taking China to the WTO in December over barley , after Beijing imposed duties of more than 80 per cent on the grain in May. Chinese officials claimed that growers were being subsidised and Australia had been dumping the product, a case that Australia strongly rejects. Still, the dispute process could take up to three years, according to Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.