With China tariffs, billions in US energy projects hang in balance
‘Everything is in jeopardy… We have a shadow now over both investment and trade relations with China’
Through the smoke of the Trump administration’s trade war salvoes, the bodies of casualties already wounded by a series of haphazard trade actions are coming into view. As critics of protectionism warned, no country will come out unscathed in a trade war, and American businesses are already showing how tariffs will cost Americans jobs.
On Monday, as US stocks fell amid trade war headlines, iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson announced it would be moving manufacturing jobs overseas because of tariffs.
For the energy industry, Trump’s escalating trade fight with China will have an immediate impact. Billions in planned energy deals are now in limbo, awaiting a cease-fire between the world’s two largest economies. US$84 billion worth of shale gas and chemical manufacturing projects, for instance, was recently pledged by Sinopec. But, as Bloomberg reports Tuesday, Chinese officials were a no-show when it came time to hammer out the details.
“Everything is in jeopardy,” Barry Worthington, executive director of the US Energy Association was quoted as saying. “We have a shadow now over both investment and trade relations with China and that shadow doesn’t do anybody any good.”
It doesn’t do anybody any good, except, perhaps, for the other countries who will receive that investment instead of the US.
“If China pulls back from signing contracts as a result of the trade tensions, it could divert investments to places like Africa, Russia, Western Canada, Australia, Qatar or Southeast Asia, according to both Herberg and Nikos Tsafos, president of advisory firm enalytica and a senior associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” Naureen Malik wrote.