Some corporate interests are lining up to fight economic freedom in the United States by maintaining the government’s restrictions on energy exports. Their efforts are seen by some to be remarkably hypocritical—even by Washington, D.C.’s low standards.
For example, oil refiner Valero fears that exporting U.S. crude oil could decrease its domestic supplies and thus increase its costs. According to a spokesman for Valero, “Free markets sound great in theory, but…we have to deal with realities, not theories.” According to another statement from Valero, it “makes more sense to keep crude oil here in the US where it can be refined into value-added products for domestic and export use” (emphasis added).
Trade liberalization supports advanced manufacturing by reducing operations costs, expanding investment opportunities, and opening access to rapidly-growing consumer markets around the world…. Dow is an advocate of free trade. The company supports all trade liberalization activities, including the continued implementation of a global, rules-based trading system to foster economic growth and sustainable development around the world.
But according to The New York Times, Dow’s CEO “has emerged as the principal opponent of unfettered natural gas exports.”
The CEO of Cheniere Energy, which wants to export natural gas, had this to say about his counterpart at Dow: “He is coming across as a hypocrite and a self-serving person. He wants free trade for everything he manufactures but no free trade for anybody else.”
University of Texas energy economist Michelle Michot Foss summed things up this way: “You can’t argue for an open market for your goods, but a closed market for the goods that you want to buy. And that’s made that whole line of discussion pretty unreasonable, really.”