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Vietnam may import LNG worth billions to cut trade deficit

A COASTAL commune in Vietnam that is better known for producing dragon fruit could soon become home to a US$5 billion liquefied natural gas project that would feature an import terminal and gas-fired power plant and eventually import billions of dollars of US fuel into the country

Vietnam may import LNG worth billions to cut trade deficit

A COASTAL commune in Vietnam that is better known for producing dragon fruit could soon become home to a US$5 billion liquefied natural gas project that would feature an import terminal and gas-fired power plant and eventually import billions of dollars of US fuel into the country

03 December 2019 - 19:00

A COASTAL commune in Vietnam that is better known for producing dragon fruit could soon become home to a US$5 billion liquefied natural gas project that would feature an import terminal and gas-fired power plant and eventually import billions of dollars of US fuel into the country.

The project is being fast-tracked with the blessing of Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as part of a push to buy American products in Vietnam, reported Bloomberg.



'I've never seen the Vietnamese government move so quickly,' said engineer John Rockhold, who is the director of Energy Capital Vietnam, which is leading a consortium of companies backing the development on salt beds in southern Binh Thuan province.



'I think they see LNG as a way of lowering the trade deficit the US has with Vietnam. There is a lot of pressure from the White House right now.'



Indeed, the Vietnam's leaders are doing all they can to avoid China's fate after US President Donald Trump in June described Vietnam as 'almost the single worst abuser of everybody' when asked if he wanted to impose tariffs on the nation.



US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer 'has a scoreboard: if you have a trade surplus with the US of over $10 billion, you are in the middle of his dart board,' said Ernest Bower, president of Fairfax, Virginia-based Bower Group Asia, which advises businesses on operating in Southeast Asia.



Vietnam has arguably become Asia's biggest beneficiary of the US-China trade row as companies including Nintendo Co and Alphabet Inc's Google shift production to the country. So Vietnamese officials are exploring ways to cut the nation's trade surplus with the US, which totalled $30 billion in the first seven months of this year, 39 per cent higher than in the same period in 2018, US Census Bureau data shows.



'If we buy more from the US, it will surely help boost our relationship with them,' said Binh Thuan province's government official Mai Anh Tung. The LNG project is planned to be built in this province located 212 kilometres northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, and involves companies such as General Electric Co, KBR Inc and Korea Gas.


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