China reportedly orders halt to imports of Australian coal International News
Industry news sources report that Beijing has told several state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop imports with immediate effect
China’s customs authorities have told several Chinese state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop importing Australian coal, according to two industry newswire services. The move comes amid ongoing tensions in the relationship between China and Australia and reportedly affects both thermal and coking coal.
The trade minister, Simon Birmingham, said the government was aware of the reports and was discussing the issue with Australia’s resources industry, which had “previously faced occasional disruptions to trade flows with China”.
“Australia will continue to highlight our standing as a reliable supplier of high-grade resources that provide mutual benefits,” Birmingham said.
The Minerals Council of Australia said it was also aware of the reports but played down any extended impacts, insisting the outlook for Australian coal “remains positive” in the medium term.
S&P Global Platts, which covers energy and commodities markets, cited several unnamed sources as saying Chinese state-owned utilities and steel mills had received the verbal notice to cease the imports “with immediate effect”.
Similarly, Argus Media reported that the order applied to at least some of China’s state-owned steelmakers and power plants – although the publication added it was also aware of some operators that were yet to receive the notice.
Argus cited a Singapore-based trader as speculating that this “might be a case of tightening import quotas rather than a complete ban”.
China has taken a range of actions against Australian exporters this year, including imposing prohibitive traffic on barley, suspending imports from five red meat processing plants and launching two trade investigations into wine.
By extending its trade actions to coal and iron ore, China could intensify economic pressure on Australia, which has insisted it won’t be deterred in standing up for its values.
Government figures show Australia exported $7.3bn of coal to China in the first six months of this year – up 8% compared with the same period last year. The value of Australian exports of iron ore and concentrates to China rose 16% to $43bn.
Posted Date : 12-10-20
Categories : International News
Tag Cloud: International News