Traders and analysts based in China also told AFR Weekend the Reuters report was correct and that a ban on Australian coal had been introduced at Dalian from February 1.
Coal imports from Indonesia and Russia would continue to be allowed. A screen shot of a memo by a Chinese shipping company outlining the restrictions was also posted on China’s WeChat social media platform which appeared to verify the the restrictions.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham welcomed the Foreign Ministry’s comments.
“We welcome the confirmation from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that reports of a ban or country discrimination are false. We look forward to continuing to cooperate and work together to maintain our strong and mutually beneficial trading relationship,” he said.
Mr Birmingham said earlier on Friday there was no link between Chinese restrictions on coal exports and its decision to block Huawei. Shares in mining companies fell on Friday and the Australian dollar lost about one per cent after the Reuters report appeared on Thursday.
Canberra had been seeking clarification from Beijing on the restrictions on Friday.
Senior negotiators from China and the United States were meeting in Washington on Friday to discuss a trade deal. Beijing would not want to be seen to be blocking foreign imports to boost its domestic companies, a move which has drawn criticism from the Trump administration.