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China cuts Australia’s coal imports

The Chinese government has formalized a cut of about $14bn coal imports, according to state media reports.

The National Development and Reform Commission met with representatives of the ten largest power companies over the weekend and granted them approval to import coal without customs restrictions, except for Australia.

China will prioritize imports from Mongolia, Indonesia, and Russia. Companies will be required to share inventories to ensure the price does not exceed 640 yuan (about 98 USD) per tonne.

Hundreds of millions of tons of Australian coal are currently anchored off the Chinese coast due to disputes with Beijing.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated due to Australia’s position on Chinese territorial disputes, security issues, and Australian requests to investigate the origins of the virus and the omissions in the first phase of the pandemic.

In April, the Chinese ambassador announced a consumer boycott against Australian products, which was followed by tariffs on barley and other agricultural products.

In November, the Australian government attempted to reset relations by joining the RCEP, or Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a bloc of economic cooperation made up of several Southeast Asian and Pacific countries, including South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, representing 29% of the world’s gross domestic product.

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