US Coal Exports
Exports Economic Contributions Report
Dec 03 2013

Manufacturers Warn Coal Exports Opposition Could Violate Treaties (National Association of Manufacturers)

Former WTO Chairman: LNG, Coal Export Permitting Delays May Run Afoul of U.S. Treaty Obligations

NEW REPORT SAYS TABLES MAY BE TURNED ON UNITED STATES IN WTO

Unnecessary delays in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal export permitting process may run afoul of U.S. international treaty obligations under World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, according to a report by former WTO Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus.

The report, which the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) commissioned, examines two central questions:

Do unreasonable delays by the Department of Energy to issue licenses to export LNG to foreign countries constitute, in and of itself, a violation of our international obligations under the WTO?

Do efforts by state and local authorities in the Pacific Northwest to broaden unduly the scope of the environmental review process for planned coal export terminals beyond the federal scope, and the resulting delay, constitute a violation of our international obligations under the WTO?

As a member of the WTO, the United States is bound to comply with trade rules contained in WTO agreements. A key provision, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), forbids export restrictions, including those made effective through licenses or other measures. Bacchus concludes that the implementation of U.S. rules in ways that unnecessarily impede exports of LNG and coal likely violate WTO trade rules.

“Manufacturers need strong and smart energy and trade policies to expand manufacturing in the United States and remain globally competitive. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to get a permit to do just about anything in the United States, and infrastructure projects like LNG and coal export terminals are crippled by delays and regulatory obstacles,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in reaction to the report. “As former Chairman Bacchus highlights, there is another set of obligations that apply when it comes to exports—our international obligations as a member of the WTO. This report confirms manufacturers’ view that principles of open markets and free trade should govern whether projects are approved on U.S. soil and that all permits deserve up-or-down approval in a timely manner.”

“The United States has always been a strong advocate of rules that forbid export restrictions and has been forceful in challenging export restrictions imposed by other countries,” said Bacchus. “In short, the tables may be turned on the United States directly in the WTO, but also through other countries walking away from core principles that have long been critical to U.S. success in the global economy.”

To read the executive summary, click here. To read the full report, click here.

See article here.

  • “The fact that we’re no longer in the age of energy scarcity – that we’re in the age of energy abundance – positions the United States in a totally different place. This gives access to affordable, reliable energy in the United States, and gives the U.S. a major competitive advantage.”
    – Dave Banks, Special Assistant to President Donald Trump for International Energy, June 2017
  • “It is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation. Moreover, the prudent development of these natural resources is essential to ensuring the Nation's geopolitical security.”
    – Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, March 28, 2017
  • “Historically, U.S. companies seeking to expand their revenues focused first on increasing their number and share of U.S customers. For years, this focus served as a winning strategy for many of the most successful U.S. companies. Today, global economic trends make clear that successful companies are those that reach and sell to consumers outside U.S. borders and around the globe.”
    — 2011 National Export Strategy, U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee
  • “Federal regulatory agencies should not require climate change studies in the course of their permitting processes for proposed facilities. Coal will be consumed around the world regardless of U.S. trade policy. The only question is whether the coal is produced here in North America, where environmental standards are high, or elsewhere.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “At present 19% of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people, lack access to electricity and on New Policy Scenario projections there will still be 1 billion people without such access in 2030. To meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015, 395 million more people need access to electricity. There is a strong correlation between electrification and improvement in the United Nations’ Human Development Index.”
    — International Energy Agency, Coal Industry Advisory Board
  • “Access to electricity is strongly correlated with every measurable indicator of human development”
    — Berkeley Science Review, 2008

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