Crude oil prices were down at opening Tuesday with delays to a potential trade deal between the world's two largest economies arising from China seeking tariffs on the U.S. through the World Trade Organization (WTO), a move that is set to hurt global oil demand.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $58.82 per barrel at 0540 GMT for a 0.4% loss after it closed Monday at $59.06 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $53.36 a barrel at the same time for a 0.4% decline after ending the previous session at $53.57 per barrel.
China will ask the WTO for permission to implement $2.4 billion worth of tariffs in part compensation on court filings dating back to 2012, according to WTO filings released on Monday.
Claiming that Washington failed to comply with the WTO rulings when former U.S. President Barack Obama applied levies on Chinese imports, Beijing took the case to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.
However, the Obama administration had argued that the levies were required to protect American producers against low-cost Chinese goods since Beijing uses subsidies and claims it is still a 'developing economy.'
The trade war between the world's two largest economies hit a pause on Oct. 11 when the parties reached a phase one deal. Washington agreed not to increase the rate of tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while Beijing agreed to purchase $50 billion worth of American agricultural products.
'The deal with China's coming along very well. They want to make a deal,' U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, however, said a trade deal does not need to be signed in November when Trump meets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Chile
'It has to be the right deal,' Ross said.
By Ovunc Kutlu