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China imports coal from Australia again

Posted October. 06, 2021 07:25,   

Updated October. 06, 2021 07:25


The Financial Times reported on Monday that Chinese importers started to unload Australian coal as demand for coal surges despite the import ban imposed by the Chinese authority on Australian coal in retaliation against Australia for taking sides with the U.S. amid the U.S.-China rivalry. Critics argue that China gave in to Australia in the face of the suspension of coal-fired power plants and resultant power outages.

According to the newspaper, at major Chinese ports, coals are unloaded from Australian vessels that were stranded in the sea. Nick Ristic, lead dry cargo analyst at Braemar ACM Shipbroking, reported that approximately 45 tons of coal were unloaded so far. Global energy consulting firm Kepler also admitted to The Financial Times that 383,000 tons of Australian coal were unloaded from five carriers last month. The local traders consider the move as the Chinese authority’s signal that allows customs clearance.

In 2020, the Chinese government ordered the state-owned energy corporations and steel mills to “stop importing Australian coal” in retaliation against Australia, the world’s biggest coal exporter. As a result, Australia incurred a loss of approximately 3.9 billion dollars (approximately 4.6342 trillion won).

The import ban on Australian coal and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “green energy initiative and carbon neutrality goal” initiated coal shortages in China. This led to power outages in north-east China, leading to factory shutdown and leaving millions of homes in darkness and cold. The local governments, including Jilin province, are struggling to import coal from Indonesia, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, but the surging global demand for coal raised the price, making it difficult for China to have access to coal imports.

Eun-Taek Lee nabi@donga.com