China has decided to extend zero tariffs on coal imports, which were introduced in April 2022, until the end of 2023. In April 2022, in a context of concerns of supply disruptions and domestic energy security, the Chinese Ministry of Finance announced cuts in import tariffs for all types of coal to zero from 1 May 2022 until 31 March 2023. Before April 2022, import tariffs stood between 3% and 6%, but stood at 0 for Indonesian coal.
The country became a net importer of coal in 2009 and net imports have been increasing rapidly since 2015, reaching 335 Mt in 2021, as rising demand is boosting imports and cutting exports. According to the Chinese General Administration of Customs, China’s coal imports fell by 9.2% to 293.2 Mt in 2022 (335 Mt in 2021). In the first two months of 2023, coal imports surged by 71% (compared to the same period of 2022) thanks to cheap thermal coal imports from Indonesia and Mongolia and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.