U.S. RESOURCE NATIONALISM: The Impact of Energy Trade Restrictions on National Security

Antiquated federal laws that severely limit U.S. energy exports undermine long-term U.S. foreign policy interests by threatening the international free trade regime, obstructing development goals in the poorest countries, and failing to alleviate energy security vulnerabilities of key allies and major world economies.

Maintenance of these restrictions also violates U.S. international commitments. Unfortunately, efforts to repeal or reform these laws are being heavily resisted by some U.S. entities and persons who embrace resource nationalism – the use of government intervention to control the trade of a resource in order to pursue a benefit perceived as unavailable under free trade.

Opposition efforts combined with a general education gap with regard to energy markets has resulted in the uninterrupted continuance of these harmful policies. Rather than contribute to this growing global problem, the United States should reclaim its leadership role in preserving the free trade of strategic resources – which had been a bipartisan U.S. policy for decades.

History teaches us that a prosperous global economy with open access to affordable and reliable energy is a safer, more stable world. Accordingly, Washington should lift those controls as soon as possible and exercise energy diplomacy to open doors and create opportunities here at home and abroad.

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George David Banks
George David Banks is Executive Vice President at the American Council for Capital Formation. He is an economist, political consultant, and policy advocate, focusing on energy, environment, and trade. Banks has published reports and opinion editorials on a variety of policy issues, including climate change, civil nuclear power, and energy markets and trade. He is also a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a member of the ClearPath Foundation’s advisory board. Most recently, he served as President Donald Trump’s Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment at the National Economic and National Security Councils – a position that required him to manage workstreams related to his portfolio across the federal government.