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Oil Tariff Spat Is Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain – OPEC

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OPEC, which has lost Chinese market share to U.S. oil producers, should in theory view a tariff spat between Beijing and Washington as a boon.

But while OPEC can sell more oil to China as a result of import tariffs on U.S. crude, in the long term the trade dispute could hit economic growth and oil demand, OPEC officials and oil executives said.

“In the long term, this will have a negative effect on the global economy even if, in the short term, it might be positive for other non-U.S. producers,” Austrian oil company OMV’s chief executive Rainer Seele said on the sidelines of an OPEC seminar in Vienna. “In the long-term, (U.S. President Donald) Trump’s policies will weigh on the global economy.”

A trade spat between the U.S. and China escalated last week with China threatening to slap a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, including oil and refined products.

“Trade wars (are) not good news for the world economy,” Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told the seminar.

Pouyanne said it was also not good news to see tariffs on steel and aluminum which could impact the costs of oil company investments. “So I think all that is part of what OPEC ministers should keep in mind.”

Oil executives are meeting OPEC ministers this week ahead of an OPEC gathering on Friday, which is set to decide on new output policies.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to raise production to cool down oil prices.



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