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Business warned of China risk as coal shipment blockaded

Business

A Federal Government department has warned business they have to consider the risks of exporting to China and the potential losses that may occur.

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The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has also received reports from agricultural companies that orders have dried up for some products while Anglo Coal has confirmed an Indian ship with 160,000 tonnes of its coal on board has been prevented from leaving China, even after Japan had agreed to buy the cargo.

Woodside has also said potential Chinese investors in an LNG project had pulled out of the deal as trade tensions increase.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has also told industries that while it would continue to facilitate market access and seek to ensure importing country requirements were up to date and accurate, “the department encourages exporters to fully consider their own risk and potential losses”

CCIQ policy advisor Gus Mandigora said members were reporting delays or not getting orders after hearing rumours that Chinese buyers have been asked not to buy Australian products.

“I was speaking to an exporter yesterday who said their agricultural product normally peaks in demand in November and they have had no orders. We have also heard that from a machinery exporter,” Mandigora said.

“We think it will have an impact on the (Queensland) economy because exports are a key part of the economy.

“We feel a lot of SMEs will be affected because the whole value chain is a lot of small producers and family-owned business. It will hit the bottom line, it will hit a lot of small businesses and a lot of artisans particularly in far north Queensland.”

He said diversification of the markets was now a really important strategy.

“The Federal Government needs to keep woking that diplomatic channel. It’s taking time and there hasn’t been much joy in getting a response from their Chinese counterparts but they need to keep doing it even though it seems to be an intractable problem,” he said.

Rock lobster shipments have also recently been held up at Chinese airports, with no clear explanation or reason given.
CCIQ has also warned exports that they must check with their importer for updates before committing to a shipment.
LNG exports from Queensland appear unaffected and that may be because of the significant investment China has made in the Curtis Island-based industry.
EnergyQuest said that in the first 10 months of this year Australia delivered 23.5 million tonnes of LNG to China, precisely the same volume as was delivered in the first 10 months of 2019.

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