Event Reports

Trade Conflicts and Energy Markets in Asia

by Eric Lee

Expert Workshop

KAS RECAP is launching a regional survey on implications of international trade disputes for energy development in Asia-Pacific. For preparing the survey, an international workshop took place in Hong Kong on 22 October 2019. Energy experts were invited to discuss the global economic uncertainties triggered mainly by the US-China trade conflict and their impacts on Asia’s energy sustainable development.

The workshop started with a discussion on the effects of trade conflicts on energy markets in Asia. Chinese energy markets have not been significantly affected by the trade disputes. In the face of US tariffs on energy imports, China has taken various measures to mitigate the negative consequences namely joining the Energy Charter Organization and strengthening energy cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East. For ASEAN, opportunities have been brought by the trade war for economic growth and closer energy exchange within this subregion, although big concerns remain over overwhelming increase of energy demand.

The next topic was about the impacts of the trade disputes on energy transitions in Asia Pacific with a detailed look at Northeast Asia. Experts argued that global energy transitions have intensified trade tensions. For China, the trade disputes could have positive effects in fostering domestic solar development and energy transitions. Japan and Korea are not much affected by the trade disagreements. A specific discussion was dedicated to the Japanese solar market. Local manufacturing firms face intense competition with foreign companies. In South Korea, increasing deployment of renewable energy due to high feed-in tariffs is weakening the impacts from trade wars on fossil fuel energy.

The workshop ended with geopolitical perspectives related to the trade conflict. The trade conflict is reshaping the global landscape of oil and LNG markets. To efficiently balance energy demand and supply, affected countries are diversifying energy sources and buyer and supplier portfolios. The tariffs seem to have increased costs for renewable energy, but not disrupted the trend of clean energy’s development globally. Panelists expect the economic decoupling between China and the US continues, even when a trade deal is settled in the short term.

The results of the survey will be released early next year. For more details, click here.


Contact Person

Dr. Christian Hübner


Head of the Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific

christian.huebner@kas.de +852 28822245