Australia’s biggest exporting state on Tuesday urged Canberra to stop antagonizing China, the country’s top trade partner.
“This isn’t about kowtowing to other countries and giving in,” Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said at Australia’s biggest oil and gas industry conference, being held in Perth.
“There needs to be a national reset in that relationship.”
Western Australia is the largest iron ore producer in the world.
Ties with China worsened last year when Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, which sparked trade reprisals from China, hitting Australian goods ranging from barley and coal to lobster and wine.
Relations had already soured after Australia banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country’s 5G network in 2018.
A Chinese economic planning agency said last month it was looking to diversify China’s supply of iron ore.
“While an outright ban would be almost unimaginable, various forms of restrictions, delays or increased administrative burdens on Australian iron ore imports could yet happen,” Wood Mackenzie said in a recent note.
Benchmark 62% Fe fines imported into Northern China (CFR Qingdao) were up 0.45% on Tuesday, changing hands for $221.87 a tonne, according to Fastmarkets MB.
(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)