"China's customs assesses the safety and quality of imported coal, analyses possible risks, and conducts corresponding examination and inspection compliant with laws and regulations", he said.
"The objective of this is to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese importers and to protect the environment", he said.
China, which has a history of using trade as leverage, has been seeking to counter resistance in several nations to using Huawei in 5G networks.
Reports that a key Chinese port was refusing Australian coal imports sent the dollar tumbling yesterday afternoon.
CBA research analyst Vivek Dhar said although the situation was unclear, it appeared that Australian coal was being singled out.
"It is not a ban on coal imports from Australia, but the customs clearance process is longer, and whether that will be the situation for the long term remains to be seen", he said.
"This seems to be an escalation of what is already happening between China and Australia".
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The company said that it has a small coal sales volume imported from Australia to China and it does not deliver the coal via the affected ports.
The EUR/AUD exchange rate is likely to remain sensitive to political developments into next week, and any signs of a development between Australia and China over coal imports, or a consensus emerging from US-China trade talks, could provide some uplift for the "Aussie".
Spokesperson Geng Shuang made the comment at a regular press briefing in response to a question about a ban on imports of Australian coal. They represented just 1.8 per cent of Australia's total global coal exports.
"I don't believe for one moment this is linked to some of the higher level issues of relationships between China and the rest of the world, and including with us". That includes five harbors in the northeastern port of Dalian, according to the people with knowledge of operations there.
But Frydenberg said the coal decision was not necessarily linked.
A purchasing manager at a large steel mill in eastern China said his firm was not concerned about their supply of coking coal, a type of coal used in steelmaking, given sufficient inventory at ports, and did not expect the restriction to spread.
Some investors linked the restrictions to China's trade war with the US.
"It is not an issue for us at the moment but we need to fix this soon", he said.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been deteriorating since 2017, when Australian authorities accused China of interfering with its domestic affairs. Imports can not exceed that level but the quota applies to all countries including Australia, Russia and Indonesia, the person said.