Australian coal exports to China have been formally blocked after months of import restrictions that have thrown the $14 billion export industry into turmoil.
The decision means Australian coal will be blocked indefinitely while China bolsters imports from Mongolia, Indonesia and Russia, and expands local production.
China’s international state media outlet, The Global Times reported China’s National Development and Reform Commission had given approval to power plants to import coal "without clearance restrictions, except for Australia, in a bid to stabilise coal purchase prices".
Australia’s Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has urged Chinese authorities to "immediately rule out the reports". According to him, if accurate, they would appear to be discriminatory practices against Australian coal.
The state media report is the most direct statement we’ve seen of an outright ban of Australia’s third-largest export to the country.
In this episode, national editor Tory Maguire and North Asia correspondent Eyrk Bagshaw discuss the future of Sino-Australian relations after China blocks Australian coal exports.
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