Australia seeks clarity from China over reported halt on coal imports

Australia seeks clarity from China over reported halt on coal imports

The Australian government is seeking assurances from China over the impact of reported curbs of coal imports, while calling on Beijing to end the freeze on ministerial talks as concerns grow about widening trade tensions.

The Greens seized on the reported moves as evidence Australia needed a “Plan B” and a transition plan for when the rest of the world no longer wanted the country’s coal.

The uncertainty was fuelled by reports by two industry newswire services that China’s customs authorities had told several state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop importing Australian thermal and coking coal.

Scott Morrison said the government was investigating the reports, but it was “important not to get ahead of ourselves here” because it was “not uncommon” for China to impose domestic quotas to support local coal production and jobs.