Trump Makes American Coal Great Again — Overseas – by Keith Johnson (Foreign Policy – April 4, 2018)

U.S. coal exports have exploded. Can that continue?

President Donald Trump vowed to make U.S. energy dominance a cornerstone of his foreign policy, and, sure enough, the United States this year is producing and exporting record amounts of oil and natural gas.

More surprising, though, is the huge resurgence in U.S. exports of coal to countries all over the world, from Argentina to Ukraine. It’s a big silver lining for the beleaguered coal sector that has seen production and exports steadily dwindle in recent years.

But it’s not such great news for U.S. steelmakers, who are watching global rivals gobble up American coal to feed their steel mills — and who then turn around and export millions of tons of steel to the United States, prompting the Trump administration to levy tariffs on lots of imported steel.

After several dismal years, U.S. coal exports surged by 60 percent last year to 97 million tons, not far from the record export numbers reached in 2012 when the domestic market for coal nosedived, according to new figures just published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Exports of both the kind of coal used for power plants and coal used for steelmaking surged, with double- or triple-digit growth to every continent. The top buyers of U.S. coal were India, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Brazil.

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