Beijing: The Australian dollar fell 1 per cent on Thursday as news broke that a major Chinese port had banned imports of Australian coal, fuelling fears that diplomatic tensions were hitting Australia’s second largest export.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told Senate Estimates on Thursday night there was no evidence to support claims the slow down in coal imports was linked to diplomatic tensions. But he said Australian ambasssador to China Jan Adams had escalated her representations to the Chinese government.
Dalian Port and Dalian Customs declined to comment to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald after Reuters reported that the port had banned Australian thermal coal imports.
But reports in China said Dalian Customs had held a meeting and imposed a combined cap of 12 million tonnes for 2019 on all five harbours in Dalian. The reports on a Chinese steel industry website said only Russian and Indonesian thermal coal would now be imported.
Reuters on Thursday cited a Dalian Port Group official as confirming five harbours overseen by Dalian customs – Dalian, Bayuquan, Panjin, Dandong and Beiliang – would not allow Australian coal to be cleared.
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