Rumours that Chinalco's failure to increase their stake in Rio Tinto has affected China Australia bilateral trade have been played down by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson. Negotiations between Chinese company Chinalco and Australia's Rio Tinto recently fell through, and a deal between Rio Tinto and fellow Australian company BHP Billiton to merge iron ore assets in the Pilbara region has been criticised by the Chinese. Apparently China has threatened to ban imports with both Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, though Ferguson believes any chagrin will be temporary: "Obviously China is disappointed. You can expect some angst but I actually believe that we'll return to a normal commerical alliance in a very short period." In an interview with Business Spectator, Austrade's north-east Asia regional director Laurie Smith agreed that relations with the Asian giant would recover. "Relations between Australia and China have come a long way and in many ways the deepening and broadening is accelerating. This would’ve been one very further large piece in that integration between our two economies, but I think that the momentum is very strong and will remain strong," Smith noted.