Domestic Interest Groups and Foreign Trade Policies — Forthcoming Agricultural and Energy Debates.

Natural Gas Exports
Domestic interest groups are often the major factor in determining the success or failure in adopting newer trade policies.
Battles are shaping up for 2013 over agricultural issues between the United States and the EU — involving contending domestic interest groups in the EU. A similar problem is developing in the United States between importers and producers of agricultural goods (tomatoes) from Mexico. Likewise, there is a battle brewing in the United States over the export of natural gas. The latter is between exporters and domestic manufacturers caused by the success of newer technologies in producing large amounts of  natural gas. The specific issue over rules and regulations governing the U.S. Dept. of Energy  export permits promises to be highly combative. 
…. The U.S. is considering opening extensive U.S. – EU trade negotiations aiming at increased trade especially by removing regulations that hamper agricultural exports (GMO’s) to Europe and others that curb trade and cross-border investment (notably those of government procurement in the U.S.) “U.S. Considers Opening Ambitious Trade Talks with the EU.Wall Street Journal (December 24, 2012).
…. The dispute over the import of tomatoes from Mexico involving the 1996 bilateral agreement, NAFTA, antidumping duties, and a minimum price raises tough issues of conflicting interest groups in the U.S. (Florida growers and U.S. importers). But most importantly it involves the U.S. adherence to the notion that NAFTA creates more trade between the U.S. and Mexico, both ways. “Mexico Finds Unlikely Allies in Trade Fight.New York Times (December 25, 2012).
….There is a domestic trade fight developing between domestic manufactures that oppose the export of U.S. natural gas and the producers and exporters. They argue that exports would help investment and jobs. The supply of natural gas is increasing dramatically because of newer technologies. “Lawmakers Gets a Say on Gas Exports, Wall Street Journal (December 26, 2012).

About Stuart Malawer

Distinguished Service Professor of Law & International Trade at George Mason University (Schar School of Public Policy).
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