Beijing: Australian officials are increasingly concerned that trade negotiations between China and the United States will lead to a special deal between the two countries that displaces Australia’s exports, including coal, to its biggest market.
China is likely to significantly increase imports of American coal from West Virginia, Donald Trump’s electoral heartland, if it strikes a trade deal next month. Mr Trump made an election pledge to revitalise the coal industry in that state.
The looming US-China trade deal coincides with Australian coal experiencing an import slowdown at Chinese ports, and China revoking the licence of Canada’s biggest canola exporter, prompting speculation that Chinese authorities may be clearing the way for special US supply deals in both energy and agriculture.
Australia is in the dark over trade negotiations between China and the United States, leading to anxiety about what is being discussed between its security ally and its biggest trading partner.
A Chinese coal industry insider confirmed there would “certainly” be moves in this area, but was only willing to speak to potential buyers and not the media.