Golden Pass

Re-Affirming the Benefits of Free Trade

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a long-awaited study that concludes that the U.S. economy as a whole would benefit from exports of some of the abundant natural gas supplies that have been unlocked by the industry’s new technologies.

In prior posts I have written about how unconventional sources of oil and natural gas are creating jobs, strengthening businesses and investment, as well as revitalizing cities and regions across America.

The comprehensive, 230-page DOE study looked at all sectors of the economy and in every scenario concluded the net gains to the U.S. economy from exporting natural gas were greater than any localized loss. This is how free trade works — whether you’re talking about U.S. exports of wheat, computers, or automobiles.

The DOE study’s findings are also consistent with those of other independent organizations, such as the Brookings Institution and Rice University.

In addition, as our public dialogue on this issue has moved forward, the National Association of Manufacturers has re-iterated its support for free trade in relation to natural gas. And the American Chemistry Council has also made its position clear.

What these many different voices share is the belief that the tremendous new supplies of natural gas coming from unconventional sources in the United States are sufficient to meet both our domestic needs and exports.

The simple truth is that free trade encourages more investment, leads to mutual benefit and progress, and, in the case of natural gas, will almost assuredly lead to higher levels of production that support jobs and economic activity across the country.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board recently reached the same conclusion in its piece titled “Energy Economics in One Lesson.”

It is heartening to see how the DOE-commissioned report is already contributing positively to public dialogue on economic trade and sound energy policy. And it reminds us all that we have every reason to be confident in the benefits of free trade.

As The Washington Post board noted in another strong editorial of support for free trade in energy, “When countries can buy and sell to each other, their economies do what they are best at, producing more with less and driving economic growth.”


2 Comments

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  1. michael Sobieski says:

    I would just like to say, Free Trade? Only works in a perfect environment in which all countries and companies play by the rules. When you have countries like China, which have no labor laws, no minimum wage laws, no environmental laws, and can have people working 12-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, at $1.00 an hour, in a factory that has no safety regulations to follow, or environmental oversight, having “free trade” with China only hurts America. Especially when what we trade to them isn’t “free”, but taxed as much as 25% while what they bring here isn’t taxed at all. Free trade is a great idea, I like it, but, in order to have things like free trade, we need to have equal labor laws and environmental regulations that countries have to follow as well, otherwise you’ll have companies jumping from country to country using their poor as cheap labor to keep their costs down and still be able to sell their products to american consumers at low prices, like they do now.

  2. michael Sobieski says:

    I would just like to say, Free Trade? Only works in a perfect environment in which all countries and companies play by the rules. When you have countries like China, which have no labor laws, no minimum wage laws, no environmental laws, and can have people working 12-14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, at $1.00 an hour, in a factory that has no safety regulations to follow, or environmental oversight, having “free trade” with China only hurts America. Especially when what we trade to them isn’t “free”, but taxed as much as 25% while what they bring here isn’t taxed at all. Free trade is a great idea, I like it, but, in order to have things like free trade, we need to have equal labor laws and environmental regulations that countries have to follow as well, otherwise you’ll have companies jumping from country to country using their poor as cheap labor to keep their costs down and still be able to sell their products to american consumers at low prices, like they do now.