Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute
President Trump is floating the possibility of tariffs on oil imports, ramping up pressure on Russia and Saudi Arabia to reach a deal amid the current production standoff.
“I am a big believer in our great energy business, and we’re going to take care of our energy business,” Trump said during a Saturday press briefing.
“If I have to do tariffs on oil coming from outside, or if I have to do something to protect — or thousands and tens of thousands of energy workers, and our great companies that produce all these jobs — I’ll do whatever I have to do,” he added.
On Sunday, he appeared to reiterate the sentiment, saying: “If they don’t get along, I would do that — yeah, I would do tariffs, very substantial tariffs.”
“If I did the tariffs, we essentially would be saying we don’t want foreign oil, we don’t want any foreign oil, we’re just going to use our oil and that would help to save an industry,” he said.
He added, however, that he didn’t think he’d have to use tariffs.
His comments come in response to a surplus of oil in the international market amid a dispute between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
They also mark a departure from the president’s previous comments about tariffs. Trump said during a Friday press briefing that he was not considering tariffs.
“Am I thinking about imposing it as of this moment? No,” Trump said. “But if we’re not treated fairly, it’s certainly a tool in the toolbox.”
Earlier last week, Trump suggested that in light of talks between Russia and Saudi Arabia, international oil production could drop by 10 million or 15 million barrels. Moscow, however, denied that such discussions had occurred.