Trump now hints he might consider tariffs on oil imports



A day after meeting with oil executives from around the U.S. including Oklahoma oilmen Harold Hamm and Dave Hager, to discuss the crude oil crisis, President Trump signaled he might consider imposing tariffs on imports of crude oil in order to protect American workers from the crash in oil prices.

It’s what he said in a Saturday pandemic briefing.

“If I have to do tariffs on oil coming from outside, or if I have to do something to protect our 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 remarked.

On Friday, he met at the White House with Hager who heads Devon Energy and Hamm, the founder of Continental Resources Inc. and numerous other major oil company leaders to discuss their plight. But the President indicated at the time that his administration was content to let the companies weather the market storm.

On Saturday, a different tune. If the president does pursue tariffs, it would be in defiance of major industry groups, like the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, which told Trump last week tariffs would only “exacerbate this already difficult situation.”

Dozens of U.S. oil producers could go under because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has reduced global demand for oil, and as Russia and Saudi Arabia flood the market with crude in a battle for market share. Rystad Energy impact analysis on Friday predicted that the current price environment will likely mean more than 70 oil and gas operators will have trouble meeting interest payments and could face bankruptcy at an oil price of $30 per barrel of WTI crude.


Source: POLITICO’s Morning Energy Report