On Thursday, the Commerce Department issued a press release that included this information:
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the names of 21 U.S. companies that will join her second trade mission, which will make three stops in the Middle East from March 8-14. The trade mission is specifically focused on export opportunities for U.S. businesses in the infrastructure sector, and will specifically focus on areas such as project management and engineering (including construction, architecture and design), renewable energy (solar, wind, waste-to-energy), smart grid and energy efficiency, and environmental technologies (including water/wastewater, air pollution control, and waste management). The delegation will visit the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
“As the country’s Chief Commercial Advocate, a key part of my job is to promote trade and investment and connect U.S. businesses with potential customers across the globe. The fact is that 95 percent of customers worldwide live outside U.S. borders, and that is why promoting exports is essential to our economic growth and job creation,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritkzer. “The three countries we are visiting on our trade mission to the Gulf Region are among the top 50 export markets for the United States. Since the launch of the National Export Initiative in 2010, exports have increased 111% to the United Arab Emirates, 65% to Saudia Arabia, and 57% to Qatar. Clearly, the Gulf region is a critical area of focus for our nation and its businesses.”
MP: Interestingly, but not too surprising, is the fact that at least one of the 21 US companies traveling on the upcoming trade mission to promote US exports (Dow Chemical Company of Midland, Michigan) is a member of America’s Energy Advantage, which is an organization dedicated to stopping, restricting, and/or otherwise limiting exports of US natural gas.
One objection raised by America’s Energy Advantage (AEA) is that some US natural gas exports could go to countries that have not signed free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the US like Japan and India. For example, in this letter to the Committee on House Energy and Commerce, AEA expresses its “strong disagreement” with the recommendations of an Energy and Commerce Majority Committee policy paper to export natural gas to non-FTA nations.
And yet at the same time, the upcoming trade mission is promoting increases of US exports to Gulf Region countries, none of which have an FTA with the US?