Beijing - The number of U.S. liquefied natural gas vessels that went to China in 2018 fell by around 20 percent from the prior year as the trade war between Beijing and Washington heated up.
In recent weeks, however, that dispute has cooled somewhat with talks in China this week between Chinese and U.S. trade teams raising hopes additional tariffs can be avoided.
As the trade war escalated during the last six months of 2018, only six LNG vessels went from the United States to China, down from 25 during the same period in 2017. China imposed tariffs on U.S. LNG in September.
That happened even though Chinese LNG purchases last year reached all-time highs and the United States sold record amounts of the fuel. China, the fastest growing consumer of the fuel, became the world’s second biggest LNG buyer in 2017 as the government weans the country off dirty coal to reduce pollution.
The United States, meanwhile, is on track to become the world’s third biggest LNG exporter by capacity in 2019 as additional export terminals enter service.