“I would use tariffs, if I had to. I don’t think I’m going to have to,” Trump said at a White House briefing on the coronavirus. Trump on Saturday also signaled a willingness to implement tariffs on foreign oil.
The president said he thought there would ultimately be an agreement on production levels between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Along with a sharp reduction in demand from the coronavirus pandemic, disagreements on production cuts between Saudi Arabia and Russia that began in early March has caused the price of crude oil to fall dramatically.
“It’s obviously very bad for them,” Trump said of low oil prices.
Trump’s comments Sunday came as oil prices fell after a scheduled virtual meeting between OPEC and its allies was delayed. The meeting had been set for Monday but will “likely” be held Thursday, CNBC reported Saturday.
Oil prices surged last week as Saudi Arabia called for the meeting.
Last week, Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernen in a phone conversation that he was anticipating a production cut of up to 15 million barrels to be announced by the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Declining oil prices have made it unprofitable for many U.S. firms to remain active, analysts have said.
Trump also met with U.S. energy executives at the White House on Friday.
“If I did the tariffs, we essentially would be saying we don’t want foreign oil. … We’re just going to use our oil and that would help to save an industry,” Trump said Sunday.