Should Free Trade Principles Apply To U.S. Exports Of Liquefied Natural Gas?

A key issue facing U.S. policymakers is how to respond to natural gas producers seeking to export our increasingly abundant supplies of natural gas and industrial users who seek to limit exports. Natural gas production has expanded by 29 percent in the 2006–2012 period due to the new technologies that have allowed the development of shale gas. In the interest of furthering the discussion, the ACCF Center for Policy Research convened a panel of three experts on February 12, 2013, to discuss the question of how free trade principles should enter into policymakers’ decisions regarding the exportation of a commodity like liquefied natural gas (LNG).


Jagdish Bhagwati
is a University Professor of Economics, Law & International Affairs at Columbia University and Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been Economic Policy Adviser to the Director General, GATT, and Special Adviser to the UN on Globalization. A native of India, Professor Bhagwati attended Cambridge University where he graduated in 1956 with a first in Economics Tripos. He then continued to study at MIT and Oxford. He is a member of the ACCF Center for Policy Research Board of Scholars.


Michael A. Levi 
is the David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy & the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations and director of the CFR program on energy security and climate change. Dr. Levi was a nonresident science fellow and a science and technology fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. Prior to that, he was director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Strategic Security Project. He is a member of the external advisory council for Princeton University’s Carbon Mitigation Initiative.

Richard Schmalensee is the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Economics and Management, Emeritus at MIT and Co-Director of the MIT Center for Energy & Environmental Policy Research. Schmalensee served as the John C Head III Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management, and was a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Research Associate of NBER, and member of the International Academy of Management.

Margo Thorning is Senior Vice President & Chief Economist of the ACCF and Executive Vice President & Director of Research of the ACCF Center for Policy Research. She is an internationally recognized expert on tax, environmental and competitiveness issues and has testified before many congressional committees. She has been quoted in publications including the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times.  Thorning received a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Georgia and has served at the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Commerce and the FTC.

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