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China’s coal ban would breach WTO Rules, says Australian PM

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Australian Prime minister says China would be breaching the bilateral free trade agreement between the two counties as well as World Trade organizations rules if it bans Australian Coal

Australia’s Prime minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said that China would be breaching the bilateral free trade agreement as well as the rules of the World Trade Organization if they ban Australian coal.

The Prime minister was responding to the report published in the Chinese newspaper Global Times, which said that the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission has recently allowed power plants to import coal without restrictions except for coal from Australia.

He said he is treating this report as a media speculation, as the Chinese government has not clarified its position on the matter yet.

Coal is Australia’s one of the most lucrative export.

China is one of the biggest importers of coal from Australia. But after Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, the bilateral ties between the two counties have deteriorated.

Australia was close to finalizing a complaint to the World Trade Organization when China banned the import of barley from Australia last month. Now with speculations of a coal ban, the ties between the two countries are bound to deteriorate further.

Australian Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, while talking about the reports on the coal ban said:

“We see these reports and obviously are deeply troubled by them.”

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