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FMG locks down relationships with China’s biggest steel mills

WA iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group will shore up trade relationships with China’s biggest steel companies by signing eight memorandums of understanding with steel mills on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo.

In a statement Fortescue announced it would sign MOUs with both public and private steel mills across the country, including China’s largest steel group Baowu, which received the company’s first cargo of ore 10 years ago.

It will also sign an MOU with Hebei Iron and Steel Group, China’s second-largest steel company.

While the MOUs don’t have an immediate commercial impact, FMG chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said it reaffirmed the company’s commitment to its customers and demonstrated its presence in China.

Ms Gaines reiterated the importance of Australia’s trade relationship with China.

“As the One Belt, One Road initiative continues to grow, the openness and mutual understanding established by our bilateral trade relationships will be critical to its success,” she said.

“Australia’s significant strategic partnership with China is built on the importance of trade and is a fundamental pillar in our relationships across the Asian region.”

More than 3600 companies from 172 countries and regions are attending the expo, which opened in Shanghai on Tuesday and will run until November 10.

FMG is sponsoring the Australia pavilion at the expo and is joined by fellow Australian mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP, and food and agriculture companies like A2 and Bellamy’s Organic.

Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham is leading the Australian contingent to the expo.

He told ABC Breakfast on Tuesday morning the countries’ friendship had its challenges.

“Like any two mature countries, we won’t always agree on every single aspect of foreign policy, but we shouldn’t let that get in the way of things that we do agree on and where we can cooperate,” he said.

In his expo opening speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on countries to “oppose protectionism and unilateralism in a clear-cut stand”.

Mr Birmingham said the government didn’t believe that unilateral increases in tariffs were the right way to go.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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