US Coal Exports
New! Exports Economic Contributions Report
Dec 04 2013

International Trade Agreements Require U.S. Coal Export Approvals (Rigzone)

US Delays in LNG, Coal Export Permitting Could Violate WTO Agreements

The United States’ delay in permitting liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal export facilities could run counter to U.S. international treaty obligations under World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, former WTO Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus argues in a recent report.

The United States cannot argue against trade restrictions by other countries while it delays the export of LNG and coal from the United States, Bacchus told reporters during a press conference Tuesday.

“It is strange to me that some in the energy industry see oil and gas as excluded from WTO obligations,” said Bacchus. “There’s nothing in the treaty that excludes oil and gas from WTO rules and obligations.”

As a WTO member, the United States must comply with WTO agreement trade rules. A key provision, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994, forbids export restrictions, including those made effective through licenses or other measures.
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Dec 04 2013

Group Presses U.S. to Speed Coal Exports Approvals (Reuters)

Group steps up pressure to speed US okay of gas, coal exports

A lobbying group pressing the U.S. government to speed approval of U.S. natural gas and coal export proposals released a report on Tuesday contending that long delays in the approval process may violate global trade rules.

The National Association of Manufacturers commissioned James Bacchus, a former Democratic Congressman and World Trade Organization judge, to pen the report, which it says sends a message to the Obama administration and Congress that they should accelerate the approval process and lift regulatory barriers.

“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,” said NAM President Jay Timmons.
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Dec 03 2013

Coal Export Limits May Violate WTO (Sustainable Business Oregon)

Manufacturers group: Coal export limits may violate WTO

A National Association of Manufacturers report suggests that delays in enabling more coal facilities could actually lead to world trade treaty violations.

The report, issued this morning, hits at the heart of three contested coal facilities in the Pacific Northwest, including a proposal at the Port of Morrow in eastern Oregon.

NAM’s researchers reported that demand for fossil fuels is growing worldwide, which hints that there’s also a growing need for more export facilities. However, delays in obtaining building permits have thwarted coal exports. As such, the U.S. may be violating World Trade Organization agreements that forbid export restrictions.

“The United States has always been a strong advocate of these rules and has been forceful in challenging export restrictions imposed by other countries, as highlighted recently when the United States successfully challenged China’s imposition of export duties, quotas and licenses on a variety of raw materials at the WTO,” NAM researchers wrote. “Consequently, China must now eliminate its export restrictions or be subject to economic sanctions.
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Dec 03 2013

New Study Warns Against Coal Exports Permit Delays (Industry Week)

NAM Study Slams LNG, Coal Export Permitting Delays

Regulatory delays ‘likely’ violate WTO trade rules, manufacturers’ association warns.

Federal, state and local permitting reviews of new facilities needed to increase exports of liquid natural gas and coal may run afoul of U.S. obligations under international trade agreements, a new study finds.

Both LNG and coal are now in abundant supply in the U.S., and demand in China and other countries for these resources is growing. Coal provides 70% of the energy consumed in China, the study notes, and more than 395 gigawatts of new coal-fired power generation is planned worldwide by 2016. U.S. natural gas prices are less than half those of Europe, the study points out, and as little as a quarter of prices in Asia.

Global demand is prompting a variety of efforts in the United States to export more coal and natural gas, but NAM officials warn a “persistent pattern” of regulatory delay for energy-related projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline is hampering the U.S. economic rebound and competitiveness.

“We have a unique opportunity to impact global trade and create jobs in the energy space,” said Aric Newhouse, NAM senior vice president of policy and government relations, in a conference call with reporters. He said every delay of months or years in permitting energy infrastructure projects “threatens our ability to grow jobs in this country and threatens our ability to grow the economy.”
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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.
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  • “The President’s National Export Initiative should place greater public emphasis on the role coal exports are playing to help reach the White House’s goal of doubling U.S. exports.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “…we need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America…We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America…We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores”
    — President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010
  • “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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