There is government concern that Australian coal exporters could face another threat from the Chinese communist regime in its one-sided trade dispute with Australia.
While the Australian government has decided not to play “tit for tat” trade games with China, the Chinese regime is reportedly warning state-owned power plants not to buy new shipments of Australian thermal coal and instead favour domestic products.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told reporters in Canberra on May 22 that the trade minister and diplomats were working to fix the issues.
“Of course we’re very concerned by it,” he told the ABC on Friday.
He said China needed Australia as much as we needed our largest trading partner. China is the world’s largest steel exporter, it needs iron ore to produce steel.
McCormack said Chinese steel mills and power plants would need high-quality Australian coal to operate.
China has also announced new supervising rules for iron ore, but opinion is divided on its impact on Australian exporters.
Labor Frontbencher’s Concerns
Meanwhile, Opposition Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon has accused the government of demonising China and its communist regime.
Opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese dodged questions from reporters in Sydney about Fitzgibbon’s comments but admitted that they hadn’t spoken.
Asked if he had an issue with Fitzgibbon freelancing on China, Albanese said: “I speak on behalf of the Labor Party.”
Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said Fitzgibbon was openly undermining his boss and should get the sack.
Beef and Barley
Trade tensions have also embroiled Australia’s barley and beef industry, with Beijing angered by Canberra’s call for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of the CCP virus was supported by over 120 nations at the World Health Assembly which passed a resolution on May 19.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the Chinese regime’s hostility towards Australia and said the world now has a “more realistic understanding” on the “nature of the regime” after Beijing’s lack of transparency surrounding the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on May 14: “We’ll work on those trading relationships. But what we will never do is trade away our values.”
Finbar O’Mallon, Canberra. John Xiao contributed to this article.