While politicians and members of industry remain optimistic that China's new coal tariffs will soon be rescinded, the outlook for exporters could still be gloomy as a result of Beijing's efforts to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

Beijing’s decision to raise tariffs on coking and thermal coals has blindsided Australian coal producers, particularly in light of ongoing efforts by the Abbott government to establish a free trade agreement with China. China’s imposition of a three per cent tariff on coking coal and a six per cent tariff on thermal…