We’ve come a long way from the campaign days, when Republican Donald Trump railed against China with accusations of eroding American manufacturing, devaluing its own currency to gain an unfair advantage on international markets and dumping key commodities like iron.
Today, after the most turbulent first 100 days of any presidency in recent memory, Trump has not only received Chinese president Xi Jinping for a Florida summit in February, but also given his blessing to a major trade agreement that will strengthen economic ties between the two nations. Among other effects, the deal will pave the way for China to import US beef and open its market to US financial institutions.
However, while China is already the United States’ largest trade partner, with over $600 billion in goods exchanged between the two in 2016, the recent signing of the 100 Day Action Plan represents a historic turn. The agreement will facilitate trade between the world’s fastest growing LNG exporter and the fastest growing LNG importer.
According to Wood Mackenzie, Chinese LNG demand could surpass 75 million t by 2030, for a total value of over $26 billion. That money will be needed in order to fund a nearly ground-up revamping of LNG export infrastructure on the USA’s eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. Construction is being planned on terminals in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Maine.
The United States currently has just one active LNG export terminal, in Louisiana. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), four new projects will go online by 2021, bringing the nation’s export capacity up to over 250 million cubic meters.