China Tariff Threatens U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas Boom

China’s move to impose tariffs on U.S. liquefied natural gas imperils the ability of a burgeoning industry to export the bounty of American shale.

Retaliating against new Trump administration tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, China on Tuesday issued levies on $60 billion of U.S. products, including a 10% tariff on liquefied natural gas, known as LNG.

Shares of Cheniere Energy Inc., the first U.S. company to export LNG from the U.S. Gulf Coast, rose on the news, as the tariff was lower than a 25% levy China had earlier threatened. Still, the tariff is bound to have an impact on American LNG exporters, analysts said, making them a potential early victim in the escalating trade battle between the U.S. and China.

China is the biggest source of new global LNG demand as the country steps up efforts to combat air pollution by shifting from coal-powered plants to natural gas and renewable energy sources. The U.S., which is emerging as a powerhouse in the global gas trade, was expected to mop up a big chunk of that demand.
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