Eight U.S. senators pressed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to keep oil, natural gas and electricity flows to and from Canada and Mexico free of restrictions as the Trump administration looks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"NAFTA has played a key role in all North American energy markets including electricity, renewable, oil, and natural gas, as each market is highly integrated with and remains dependent on vital energy infrastructure and trade crossings that border the United States, Canada, and Mexico," the bipartisan group led by John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., wrote June 8. "Free trade — and free trade agreements ... such as NAFTA — allows the United States to maximize the benefits of being the world's largest energy producer."
President Donald Trump has slammed the 23-year-old agreement, calling it "the worst trade deal ever." Lighthizer on May 18 formally notified Congress of the White House's plan to renegotiate NAFTA to "support higher-paying jobs" and "grow the U.S. economy."
The American Petroleum Institute in a June 9 statement embraced the senators' letter, which followed a May 30 letter from U.S. House of Representative members calling for similar energy trade protections. "NAFTA has played a critical role in facilitating North American energy integration, which enhances U.S. energy security, supports millions of American jobs in the oil and natural gas industry, and helps make energy more affordable," API President and CEO Jack Gerard said.
The U.S. in March exported roughly 130 Bcf of natural gas via pipeline and about 11 Bcf of LNG to Mexico, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Nearly 100 Bcf of natural gas was sent to Canada. The U.S. also imported approximately 274 Bcf of natural gas from Canada and a small amount from Mexico.