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China coal ban would breach WTO guidelines, says Australian PM

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Scott Morrison was responding to a report within the Chinese state-owned Global Times newspaper that the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission had given energy vegetation approval to import coal with out restrictions aside from Australian coal

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentioned on Tuesday that China would be in breach of World Trade Organization guidelines in addition to a bilateral free commerce settlement if it banned Australian coal.

Mr. Morrison was responding to a report within the Chinese state-owned Global Times newspaper that the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission had given energy vegetation approval to import coal with out restrictions aside from Australian coal.

Morrison mentioned he was treating the report as “media speculation” as a result of the Chinese authorities had but to make clear its place.

“If that were the case, then that would obviously be in breach of WTO rules,” Morrison told reporters. “It would be obviously in breach of our on free trade agreement and so we would hope that’s certainly not the case.”

Coal and iron ore are Australia’s most lucrative exports. But Australian exports appear to have suffered due to deteriorating bilateral relations since Australia called for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia was close to finalizing a complaint to the World Trade Organization over Chinese tariffs imposed on barley.

“We see these stories and clearly are deeply troubled by them,” Birmingham instructed Australian Broadcasting Corp. referring to the reported coal import ban.

“They, if true, would point out discriminatory commerce practices being deployed by Chinese authorities and we would urge them to rule that out swiftly,” he added.

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