Indonesia ready to pick up Aussie coal exports to China

Marco Green
November 27, 2020

Australia is the biggest barley supplier to China, exporting about A$1.5 billion to A$2 billion worth a year, which is more than half its exports.

When questioned about a ban on Australian coal imports, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, alluded to quality issues as the cause of the delay.

The news followed rumours of a Chinese ban on Australian coal in October amid escalating trade tensions between the two countries.

China had strengthened the examination and testing of imported coal regarding safety, quality and environmental standards "so as to better protect the legitimate interests and the environmental interests of the Chinese side", Zhao said.

The ministry in Thursday's statement noted that Indonesian coal exports to the East Asian country reached $4.9 billion up until September this year, a bigger figure than the deal value.

Australia last week said the reports were "deeply troubling" but China has denied it is levying coordinated trade action against Australia.

Indonesia is keen to ramp up its thermal coal exports to China in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in which its exports to China dropped 24.5% in the first 10 months of 2020 to 86.88 million tonnes compared to 115.03Mt, according to Refinitiv data.

The unofficial coal ban is just one of many apparent trade embargoes, which have hit Australian goods in recent weeks.

The stalled shipments account for about a quarter of all imports waiting to pass customs clearance in China.

An estimated $700 million worth of Australian coal is now being held up in Chinese waters, as political and trade tensions between the two nations continue to worsen.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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