On November 5, U.S. sanctions went into effect that target Iran’s energy, shipping, and banking sectors, including vessels and banks called out by name. Ahead of the November deadline, Iranian oil tankers moving supplies offshore went “dark” in unprecedented numbers, trying to cloak their movements.
Trade in hydrocarbons, fissionable materials and cross-border transmission of electricity largely take place outside the multilateral trading system. Two key developments may now lead to convergence between the energy business and the rules of the WTO.
Against a backdrop of high profile trade and investment disputes between the United States and China, American hydrocarbon exports to China are booming. U.S. energy commodity exports to China went from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $8.6 billion in 2017.
After autos and auto parts, energy commodities are the largest category of traded goods in North America. The energy industry in North America is both highly integrated and interdependent. As a region, we have achieved energy self-sufficiency and have become a global energy powerhouse because we trade with one another.
Many important developments in the region’s energy market have reshaped the industry. The NAFTA renegotiation may be the chance to move closer to the goal of free trade and investment in the North American energy sector.