Ciobo says China ties remain strong

Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo says trade ties with China remain strong despite a recent souring in relations with the major trade partner.

On the first day of his visit to Shanghai, Mr Ciobo said a diplomatic team had been "mobilised" to sort out Chinese customs delays that have hit Australia's Treasury Wine Estates Ltd , the world's biggest listed winemaker.

Ties between Australia and China have been tested over the past year, partly over Australian concerns about rising Chinese influence that led Canberra to propose legislation banning foreign political donations.

"The relationship between Australia and China is a strong relationship. Our trade and investment ties are broad," Mr Ciobo said on Thursday, adding that the ties had boosted prosperity for both.

His comments follow a call by former Australian ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to be sacked for angering China with her criticisms of its activity in the South China Sea and claiming China was unfit for regional leadership.

The former envoy-turned businessman earlier this week accused the Turnbull government of adopting a policy of "strategic mistrust" towards China.

Ms Bishop counter-attacked, describing Mr Raby's commentary as a "profoundly ignorant and ill-informed analysis of the China-Australia relationship."

"Australia's deep diplomatic engagement with China is continuing at the highest levels," she said.

Mr Ciobo's visit is an attempt to repair ties between the two countries, but faced an immediate challenge as Treasury Wine said it was facing delays getting some products through Chinese customs.

"I'm mobilised, my office is mobilised, the Australian diplomatic mission here is mobilised and we will work out precisely what the situation is and if we can get to the bottom of it," the minister told reporters on Thursday.

Treasury Wine's shares hit a low of $A15.64 in Australia on Thursday after Fairfax Media reported that several distributors in China were sitting on large amounts of stock that was not selling.

"The company is seeking greater understanding of new and additional verification requirements which have been applied since April 2018, and seemingly appear to only apply to Australian Country of Origin wines, and to Australian exporters operating 'warehouse models'," the company said on Thursday.

with AAP