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Columbia Energy Exchange

Columbia Energy Exchange features in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The program explores today’s most pressing opportunities and challenges across energy sources, financial markets, geopolitics and climate change as well as their implications for both the U.S. and the world.
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Jan 20, 2020

After going on for nearly two years, the Trump administration’s trade war with China has taken a new turn with a so-called phase-one agreement. Among the terms of the deal is China’s pledge to buy about $200 billion more in U.S. goods over the next two years, including $52.4 billion in U. S. energy goods. Now, as the ink dries on the document, some ask if those energy sales are likely to happen.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless visits with Dr. Erica Downs, a Senior Research Scholar at the Center who specializes in Chinese energy markets and geopolitics. Erica is a former Senior Research Scientist in the China Studies division of the CNA Corp. Among her other credentials, she was an Analyst at the Eurasia Group, the Brookings Institution and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bill caught up with Erica soon after President Trump signed the agreement with China at the White House to get her take on its implications, especially as it relates to U.S.- China energy trade, which had looked promising until trade troubles between Washington and Beijing erupted. She also provides fascinating insight on China’s oil and gas industry, which has recently made self-reliance a major commitment, and explains why Russia has a lot to gain now as an oil and gas supplier to China.

In preparing for the conversation, Bill found very helpful a paper Erica wrote for the Center on Global Energy Policy in the fall called “High Anxiety: The Trade War and China’s Oil and Gas Supply Security.” If you have a minute, download it from the center’s website. It’s worth a look.

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