Natural gas, the cleanest and fastest-growing fossil fuel, has found itself in perhaps the oddest corner of the multi-billion dollar trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
When the US added duties to $34 billion of Chinese goods last month, China retaliated with its own list that included piped natural gas from the US.
And when President Donald Trump added $200 billion worth of items to the possible tariff list on Tuesday, he included liquefied natural gas from China.
Of course, neither trade flow exists. China is the world’s second-biggest importer of LNG and doesn’t have any liquefaction plants capable of exporting the fuel. And, unless someone built a 6,200-mile subsea pipeline that everyone was hitherto unaware of, the US doesn’t export any piped gas to China.
Gas isn’t the only item that’s being sucked incongruously into the trade dispute. For example, the US included live trout in the most recent list of tariffs, even though the fish apparently hasn’t been shipped alive from China to the US since at least 1992.