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Australia says coal import ban by China would breach WTO rules

Australia now says that a Chinese ban on Australian coal imports would be in violation of World Trade Organization rules. More than 50 vessels carrying Australian coal have now been stranded off the Chinese coast for months.

Archive photo. The photo does not depict the vessels currently stranded off China. | Photo: David Gray/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday that a Chinese ban on Australian coal imports would breach World Trade Organization rules, as his government urged Beijing to resume dialog to ease the worsening diplomatic dispute.

More than 50 vessels carrying Australian coal have been stranded off China after ports were verbally told in October not to offload such shipments. China's National Development and Reform Commission on Saturday appeared to formalize those curbs after giving power plants approval to import coal without restrictions, except from Australia, under efforts to tame price gains, the Global Times reported.

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