EU plans sharp hike in U.S. energy imports as trade lever

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The European Union will seek to double imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States by 2023, as part of its efforts to ease transatlantic trade tensions and reduce its reliance on Russian gas. The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28-nation bloc, said on Thursday it plans to increase imports to 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, more than double the level of 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump agreed with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker last July not to impose tariffs on EU cars as the two sides sought to improve economic ties, including a drive to increase imports of U.S. LNG, according to Reuters.

The Commission said in a statement that U.S. LNG imports had risen by 272 percent since then, compared with the similar year-earlier period, with more than 1.4 bcm in March alone. “The European Union is ready to facilitate more imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S., if the market conditions are right and prices competitive,” the EU executive said.

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