Federal MP Clive Palmer has spoken up about China’s new coal testing regime, recommending retaliatory action.
The member for Fairfax, who also owns Waratah Coal, said the Chinese government was giving Australia a “reminder of their market position” by turning back coal exports, and that the government needed to take a firmer approach on the issue.
So far only one shipment of coal has been turned back at Chinese ports.
"If Australia retaliated and put taxes on iron ore it would a different situation,” Palmer said.
“We are not using what we have got to Australia's advantage."
Palmer’s Waratah Coal project received state approval for development in the Galilee Basin in 2013, and at the time it was said it would create 2300 operational jobs.
China recently began rejecting Australian coal shipments that did not pass import quality restrictions, introduced in 2014.
The import restrictions were brought in after the National Development Reform Commission banned the burning of coal with an ash content of more than 40 per cent or sulphur content of more than 3 per cent.
The move driven by environmental policy has had the effect of reducing Chinese coal imports, hitting Australia’s coal industry hard with a reduction in exports of 38.2 per cent for the first five months of 2015 compared to the previous year.
The recently signed Free Trade Agreement with China saw tariffs removed from metallurgical coal in June, and will see the tariffs on thermal coal removed by June 2017.