President Donald Trump said on Saturday that if necessary, he would impose tariffs on oil imports to protect American energy companies and their thousands of employees.
During his White House press conference with the Coronavirus task force, the president was asked about an ongoing agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia that could ultimately lower the price of crude oil to $ 10. a barrel, which would severely affect American businesses. .
Trump said that while lower gas prices are good for Americans who can still drive their cars during the coronavirus pandemic at very low prices, he said it will “hurt a lot of jobs” in the United States. United.
“We are currently the world’s largest producer,” said Trump before speaking about the ongoing agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia and OPEC. “I don’t like it for a different reason, because it will hurt a lot of jobs in our country at this price. This will hurt many jobs.
“We will take care of our energy activity. And if I have to make tariffs on oil coming from outside, or if I have to do something to protect thousands or tens of thousands of energy workers and our big companies that produce all these jobs, I will do all i have to do. “
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable with energy sector CEOs in the White House Cabinet Room April 3, 2020 in Washington, DC. Oil companies have been negatively affected both by the effects of the coronavirus and by foreign pressure from Russia and Saudi Arabia on the oil markets. Photo by Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images
Trump met with executives from Exxon, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum and Devon Energy to discuss energy policy on Friday.
In the United States, hydraulic fracturing technology to extract shale oil has made the country one of the leading producers of oil in the world. A new agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia will lower costs, which could cripple the US energy sector.
Kelly Crane, President and CEO of Napa Valley Wealth Management, said that a sharp drop in foreign prices would mean dependence on foreign oil, which could lead to a further economic slowdown in an era of jobs are already lost and the stock market is trying to stay. afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our shale producers cannot make money below $ 40 to $ 50 a barrel, and if domestic production stops, we must again depend on foreign oil suppliers,” said Crane.
It was then that Trump intervened on Saturday to say that a tariff would be imposed on this oil. Trump also struck OPEC, calling it a cartel and “illegal.”
“Look, I’ve been against OPEC my whole life,” said Trump. “Because what is it? It’s illegal, you could call it a cartel, you could call it a monopoly, there are a lot of different names for that. But he collapsed very violently, very violently. So I don’t care about OPEC, I really don’t care. I don’t care about OPEC. “
Trump has said that Russia and Saudi Arabia are likely to reach a settlement because “they will destroy themselves if they do not.” Trump said he had talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia, and he believes there will be a reduction of 10 million barrels of oil in the deal.
“They told me they were chatting. Saudi Arabia has gone even further, thinking that an agreement will be made with a reduction of 10 million barrels, and perhaps even more than that. He actually said it would probably be more than that, so we’ll see what happens, “said Trump.
Saudi Arabia had offered to drastically cut Russia’s supply, which prompted Moscow officials to change their energy policies, perhaps even moving to the United States to get shale oil. The impasse occurred around the same time that COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, began its infection worldwide. Two weeks ago, the world markets started to fall.