MINER and iron ore exporter Fortescue Metals Group has used its annual report to talk of the importance of strong relationships with China.

This comes at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions, with scrutiny of People’s Republic supporters’ activities on Australian universities, its treatment of the Uighurs and an ugly dispute on Hong Kong.

In a statement, the Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest-chaired company described a strengthening of multifaceted relationships with China, through supply, procurement, investment as well as academic, policy and community engagement.

“Fortescue’s longstanding relationships with customers in China have grown from the first commercial shipment of iron ore in 2008 to now being a core supplier of seabourne iron ore to China,” FMG stated.

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“Fortescue’s operations and marketing functions are closely integrated and focused on operational delivery and meeting the needs of its customers, while maximising the value that Fortescue receives for its products.”

According to FMG, a new China-based sales entity was established to support customers through direct supply from regional Chinese ports, providing them with an option to buy smaller volumes.

“Fortescue was proud to attend the prestigious Boao Forum for Asia (Boao) as a Diamond partner for the eleventh consecutive year,” the report stated.

In July 2018, Fortescue’s second China-Australia University tour welcomed a group of under-graduate and post-graduate university students from two West Australian and two Chinese universities to its operations.

“Fortescue is proud of its long term relationships with stakeholders in China and, as one of the largest exporters of iron ore globally, is focused on maintaining the mutually beneficial business and trading relationships between China and Australia.”

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