China threatens to impose retaliatory tariffs on US natural gas

China threatens to impose retaliatory tariffs on US natural gas
© Getty Images

China is threatening to put big tariffs on imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States.

China’s Finance Ministry said on Friday it would consider imposing a 25 percent levy on LNG imports as part of a package of $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE imposed duties on some Chinese goods and commodities.


“The United States has deviated from the consensus of the two sides on several occasions, unilaterally escalating trade frictions, seriously violating the rules of the World Trade Organization, undermining the global industrial chain and the free trade system, substantially harming the interests of our country and the people, and will also include the United States,” China said in proposing the levies.

China received 103.4 million cubic feet of LNG from the U.S. last year, the Energy Information Administration says. It ranked No. 3 as an LNG recipient, behind only Mexico and South Korea.

The U.S. has only started exporting LNG en masse in the last few years, owing to the explosion of natural gas production thanks to fracking and other drilling methods.

China’s tariffs could threaten to significantly dampen the growth of LNG exports, which have been central to Trump’s energy agenda. The energy industry has already expressed strong opposition to Trump’s trade battles as they fear direct hits on the industry.

The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas pushed Trump and China to resolve the spat.

“The Administration’s ‘Energy Dominance’ and ‘New Energy Realism’ agendas will cease to exist if one of the largest energy markets in the world is preemptively placing tariffs on LNG,” Charlie Riedl, the industry group’s president, said in a statement.

“Should these tariffs remain, China will source the LNG from other suppliers eager to fill the gap. This would be a tremendous missed opportunity and would have very real effects on the U.S. LNG industry,” he said.