According to customs data, China’s imports of copper concentrates from Australia in October fell by more than half compared with the previous month, which seems to confirm the speculation of China’s informal ban on imports of Australian products.
Media reports earlier this month said that Chinese companies stopped buying copper ore and copper concentrates and at least six other commodities from Australia on November 6 because of tensions between the two countries.
According to customs data, China imported 40,496 tons of copper concentrate from Australia in October, a decrease of 54.2% from September and a decrease of 34.5% from October last year, marking the lowest monthly import volume since April.
China imported more than 2 million tons of copper concentrate in October, a decrease of about 21% from September.
In 2019, Australia accounted for 4.8% of China’s copper concentrate imports, becoming the fifth largest supplier after Chile, Peru, Mongolia and Mexico. Australia is also China’s largest iron ore supplier and one of the main suppliers of bauxite.
Since Australia became the first country to publicly ban China’s Huawei from entering its 5G network in 2018, Australia-China trade relations have deteriorated. After Australia took the lead in pointing the origin of the new coronavirus to China and demanding an investigation, relations between the two countries have deteriorated further.
This week, World Health Organization officials stated that China was the first country to discover the new coronavirus, not necessarily the only place of origin.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said when asked about Australian coal cargo ships waiting to be unloaded at Chinese ports, that many imported coal failed to meet environmental protection standards.