September 17, 2020 Read More →

Fight over TikTok may spill over into not-so-social LNG networks


Donald Trump’s battle against China has taken on a new dimension. The target is ByteDance, which is the parent of the social app TikTok and the one used mostly by teenagers who post short video clips.

It’s the latest iteration of the trade dispute between the two countries and one that got started in early 2018 with tariffs on Chinese solar panel makers. But the fight has escalated to the point where the countries’ 40-year friendship has deteriorated.

Just this week, the World Trade Organization said that U.S. tariffs imposed on China have violated global trading rules. Specifically, the three-member panel said that the duties assessed were unfair and disproportionate. The Trump administration will no doubt appeal the decision — a move that would likely become moot if Joe Biden is elected U.S. president.

The TikTok controversy has inflamed political tensions between the U.S. and China. But the economic toll will be just as heavy: bilateral commerce between the United States and China reached $600 billion before the trade war. China, for example, imported $254 million in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from the United States in January 2018. Now, though, China has stopped importing the frozen fuel from this country.

And there is not likely to be a rebound, says a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The ill-effects of the coronavirus have led to a supply glut and falling prices in global LNG markets. Cheniere Energy, which is the largest U.S. LNG company, will likely earn more revenues this summer from cancelation fees than from actual sales, the think tank says. 

[Ken Silverstein]

More: How The TikTok Controversy Could Inflame The Chinese Trade War And U.S. LNG Markets

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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