Hope for farmers as China talks take root

Australian farmers hope a fresh round of high-level talks will help break down costly trade barriers with China.

Export access to China has been curtailed since diplomatic relations dramatically soured but there are signs of improvement, with junior ministers meeting this week and more senior discussions to come.

Charlie Thomas from the National Farmers Federation said China accounted for a third of all agricultural exports.

"We're hoping to see the government's concerted bilateral engagement revive and improve our access to the Chinese market," he said.

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao are preparing to meet after representatives from both countries held talks on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, who is in Europe negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union, said promising signs were coming out of Beijing.

Senator Watt said there was renewed Chinese interest in some Australian industries.

"There's certainly talk around the industry they're getting approaches and interests they haven't had for a while," he said.

"Even if we're starting to see the renewal of that kind of dialogue, then that's obviously a good thing for our producers."