Taiwan’s imports of Russian coal rose 31% in last 12 months

Taiwan relies heavily on coal for power generation. Prior to the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan’s energy provider, Taiwan Power Company (also known as Taipower), was a key buyer of Russian coal to meet Taiwan’s energy needs. Following Taipower’s 2022 declaration that they would no longer be purchasing Russian coal, they received their last shipment in September 2022. Yet, despite Taipower’s decision to stop importing Russian coal, private firms have picked up the slack and coal imports into Taiwan have increased by 31% in the most recent 12 months compared to the prior 12-month period in volume terms. The coal imported from Russia is also cheaper and lower quality than Taiwan’s imports of coal from their primary supplier, Australia.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Taiwan-based non-profit the Environmental Rights Foundation, and German-based non-profit Ecodefense have released a report revealing that Taiwan has imported USD 3.5 billion of Russian coal since the start of the invasion of Ukraine and imports have risen 31% in the last 12 months.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, sanctions have been placed on Russian fossil fuel exports by the European Union and the G7, including coal as of August 2022. The sanctions have forced Russia to find new strategies to maintain its exports, such as reducing prices to attract new markets and maintain export volumes that replace sales previously exported to EU/G7 buyers. The changes in the trends of Russian fossil fuel flows have notably been reflected in coal imports to Taiwan, which is now the fifth largest importer of Russian coal.

Estimates also reveal that Taiwan’s imports of Russian coal were globally the second highest in terms of value per capita, with the average citizen in Taiwan purchasing USD 147 per person since Russia’s  full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwan’s imports of other Russian fossil fuels have also risen in the past year, with volumes of Russian oil products shooting up over 200% in the past 12 months compared to the prior 12 months. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan has bought USD 2.9 bn of Russian oil products, contributing an estimated USD 600 mn to the Kremlin in tax revenues, which go towards financing Putin’s war.

CREA calls on all companies in Taiwan to cease buying Russian coal and to provide specific plans and timelines to global shareholders and investors to facilitate achieving these goals.

Isaac Levi, CREA; Hsin Hsuan Sun, Environmental Rights Foundation (ERF); Vladimir Slivyak, Ecodefense

Partners: Environmental Rights Foundation (ERF); Ecodefense

Global, Russia, Taiwan