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Tensions between Australia and its largest trading partner have been flaring for around three years, since Canberra alleged that there was a growing Chinese influence on its domestic affairs – a claim repeatedly denied by Beijing. In 2018, the Australian government added fuel to the fire as it banned China’s Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G rollout.
With relations souring, Beijing has effectively banned imports of Australian barley, and imposed restrictions on wine and meat shipments, among other measures. However, the ban on coal supplies could be more painful for Australia, as it accounts for a much larger share of the bilateral trade between the two countries. Coal is one of the three major Australian commodity exports to China, behind iron ore and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
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