Catholic University Law Review


As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States is required to abide by nondiscriminatory trade policies when exporting products to other WTO members. Current U.S. policy regulating natural gas exports impose burdensome and lengthy licensing procedures on those requesting approval of a permit to export natural gas to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement. A similar commodity, crude oil, is regulated by different regulations that allow for U.S. oil producers to freely export crude oil overseas. This Comment analyzes the differences in federal laws and regulations governing the export of crude oil and natural gas in conjunction with the United States’ international trade obligations as a member of the WTO. This Comment argues that policies restricting United States’ natural gas exports violates U.S. trade obligations as a member of the WTO and are unlikely to qualify for an exemption from WTO international trade obligations. Finally, this Comment concludes that U.S. regulations and laws can be brought into compliance with international trade obligations through either a change in statutory interpretation by executive agencies or Congressional action.