China Reconsiders LNG Tariff Threat
China has sown confusion in international energy markets after reconsidering plans to slap tariffs on U.S. crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The conflicting signals on China's energy imports reflect Beijing's uncertainty about the risks of retaliatory measures as it tries to match tariffs imposed by the United States in the escalating trade war.
The reversal also highlights China's concern about its growing dependence on foreign oil and gas with imports of crude now nearing 70 percent of the country's supplies.
But the U-turn on LNG tariffs may be particularly telling as China weighs the effect on its push to replace high-polluting coal with cleaner-burning gas.
The threatened tariff on LNG is likely to be a topic when a Chinese delegation visits Washington for trade talks later this month.
Although the United States supplied only about 6 percent of China's LNG imports last year, the volumes have been poised to climb with new development and terminal projects driven in part by China's growing demand.
U.S. volumes of the super-cooled fuel shipped to China through May more than tripled from low levels a year before, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
LNG has been high on the agendas of both countries since the first meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping last year, in spite of trade frictions.
"The United States welcomes China, as well as any of our trading partners, to receive imports of LNG from the United States," said a stat....