An escalating trade war between the world‘s two largest economies would be nonsensical, according to executives from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

Oil giants and energy companies are increasingly interested in LNG — a form of natural gas chilled to liquid form — as governments around the world mandate using cleaner fuel than coal.

A long-running trade conflict between the U.S. and China has in recent months — with the LNG export industry particularly vulnerable.

When asked whether the ongoing trade dispute was a danger to the LNG market, Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of , a GE company, said: “I don‘t think so — It‘s early to say that and I think we‘re in a long game here.”

“It‘s going to play itself out. There are discussions this week and there will be more discussions. A project doesn‘t convert in just one month, so there is a long lead time for the actual projects to come into play,” Simonelli told CNBC‘s on Monday.

The total number of U.S. LNG vessels that went to China in 2018 fell by around 20 percent when compared to the year previous, amid an intensifying trade war between Washington and Beijing.

In total, 24 vessels went to China in 2018 — mostly during the first six months of the year — down from 30 in 2017, Reuters reported earlier this month.

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