Trump: U.S. could impose tariffs on oil imports

Trump: U.S. could impose tariffs on oil imports

U.S. President Donald Trump said he could slap “very substantial tariffs” on oil imports if prices stay low, but does not expect he will need to, since neither Russia nor Saudi Arabia, which are locked in an oil price war, would benefit from continued low prices.

When asked at a White House press briefing under what conditions he would impose the levies, Trump said, "If the oil price stays the way it is...I would do that, yeah, very substantial tariffs."

Trump had previously said that he expects the two countries to arrive at a deal to cut output by as much as 15 million barrels per day. Neither country has confirmed his comments, but Trump expects tariffs can be avoided.

"I would use tariffs if I had to. But I don’t think I’m going to have to, because Russia doesn’t benefit by having this and Saudi Arabia doesn’t benefit by having this. Oil and gas are their major sources of income so it’s obviously very bad for them," Reuters cited him as saying.

While Trump noted the low oil prices buoyed the battered airline industry and helped consumers, he reiterated his support for the oil sector. "We have to save a great industry," he noted.

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