On strong domestic demand, China's coal imports rose 34 percent
to 51.02 million tons last year, according to customs
Exports totaled 53.17 million tons, meaning that net exports
shrank to 2.15 million tons from 82.9 million tons in 2003.
The country once became a net importer in the first quarter of
last year, according to customs data.
The customs attributed this to a decline in domestic supply
after the closure of many illegal and insecure collieries.
Imports were also boosted by the scrapping of the import tariffs
on June 1.
Coal makes up nearly 70 percent of China's nonrenewable
resources. To fuel the robust economic growth, coal production more
than doubled from 998 million tons in 2000 to 2.38 billion tons in
2006 and investment in the coal industry have been rising at an
annual rate of 50 percent in recent years.
The country no longer approves coal mines with an annual
production capacity of less than 300,000 tons and closed some
10,000 small coal mines by the end of 2007.
The government abolished tax rebates on coal exports and imposed
export tariffs while cutting import duties in 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2008)