Crude oil prices were down in early trading Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on China if the two countries fail to reach a trade deal.
'We’re going to substantially raise those tariffs,' if China does not accept U.S.' terms amid a phase one deal, Trump said during his speech at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday.
'We will only accept a deal if it’s good for the U.S.,' he added, and blamed Beijing for 'manipulating' and 'taking advantage' of U.S. trade policies since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
'I will not say the word 'cheated,' but nobody’s cheated better than China, I will say that,' he said.
Since the trade war between the world's two largest economies started, the U.S. imposed tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese imports over the last 19 months, while China has reciprocated by implementing tariffs on $185 billion worth of imports from the U.S.
As part of the phase one deal, Beijing has asked Washington to roll back tariffs on $250 billion worth of its goods, but the U.S. insists on focusing on intellectual property rights and technology.
While China said last week it could gradually remove some tariffs simultaneously with the U.S., Trump debunked that later and said the two countries have not yet agreed on anything.
The trade war between the world's two largest oil consumers, which is close to the end of its second year, continues to weaken global oil demand and puts downward pressure on crude prices.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $61.75 per barrel for a 0.46% loss at 0651 GMT on Wednesday, after closing Tuesday at $62.03 a barrel with a 0.24% decline.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $56.55 a barrel for a 0.23% decrease at the same time, after ending the previous session at $56.68 per barrel with a 0.32% loss.
By Ovunc Kutlu