Rio Tinto, the country’s largest iron ore producer, has noticed improving trade ties between Canberra and Beijing after a diplomatic dispute led to a two-year ban on Australian coal and restrictions on other imports.
Australia’s relationship with its largest trading partner has soured in 2020 over diplomatic issues, including former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. The dispute has led to China blacklisting Australian coal, stranded dozens of ships from its coastline, and imposing hefty tariffs on other Australian commodities, including wine and barley.
Kelly Parker, Chief Executive Officer of Rio Tinto’s Australian operations, said the company has seen an undeniable “thaw” in recent frosty relations since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government took office.
“The work the government is doing is very felt,” Parker said after a speech at the Melbourne Mining Club on Friday.
“That thaw is coming back directly to the business community, the Australia-China Business Council, and we are feeling it in China as well as the China team.”
Rio Tinto is Australia’s largest producer of steel raw material iron ore, Australia’s most profitable export, and has significant operations in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia.
China’s massive steel sector, which processes raw materials in huge blast furnaces to mass produce liquid metals, relies on shipments from Australia for 60% of its iron ore demand.
Over the past two years, Chinese state media have repeatedly warned that trade disputes between Australia and China could spill over into the iron ore trade. But with the severe COVID-19 outbreak and Beijing embarking on an aggressive infrastructure-building blitzkrieg, strong demand for steel in China has cut production elsewhere in the world, pushing market conditions tightened, leaving China with few opportunities to source steel from elsewhere.
RIO) Australian Chief of Staff Kelly Parker sees better Australian-China relations under Anthony Albanian government
Source link RIO) Australian Chief of Staff Kelly Parker sees better Australian-China relations under Anthony Albanian government