China included LNG for the first time in its list of proposed tariffs on Friday, the same day that its biggest USA crude oil buyer, Sinopec, suspended US crude oil imports due to the dispute, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
That could cast a shadow over U.S. President Donald Trump's energy dominance ambitions.
On July 10, Washington unveiled a list of another $200b of Chinese goods, in areas as varied as electrical machinery, leather goods and seafood, that would be hit with 10pc import duties.
"The juxtaposition here is clear: it is hard to become an energy superpower when one of the biggest energy consumers in the world is raising barriers to consume that energy".
China's biggest USA imports by value in 2017 were aircraft and related equipment, soybeans and autos.
While the tariffs imposed by the European Union still remain in place, the bloc has agreed not to implement more while negotiators from Washington and Brussels attempt to thrash out a deal. The move was meant to bring China back to the negotiating table for talks over U.S. demands for structural changes to the Chinese economy and a cut in the bilateral trade deficit.
China called for an end to the trade dispute through talks with the United States, but on May 29, the United States announced another round of tariffs on about $50 billion in Chinese goods.
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China became the world's second-biggest LNG importer in 2017, as it buys more gas in order to wean the country off dirty coal to reduce pollution.
China has said new duties will be applied only if Washington pulls the trigger on its new tariffs.
The United States alleges that China steals US corporate secrets and wants it to stop doing so, and is also seeking to get Beijing to abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense. It said the retaliatory duties of 25 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent or 5 percent on 5,207 products will be imposed "if the US side persists in putting its tariff measures into effect".
There will be "others who will be offering barrels to China, so it could find itself able to replace lost volumes from the U.S.", Atkinson said.
The comment period on the proposed penalties, which includes public hearings where business can ask for exemptions, due to take place later this month, would be extended into September, the officials said.
China's imports from the United States previous year totaled $153.9 billion. He added they do not see tariffs as productive.
The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas pushed Trump and China to resolve the spat.
"China always believes that consultation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit is".