Oil prices were slightly down to begin Wednesday as the U.S. President Donald Trump sent a message to revise trade relations with China during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $61.95 per barrel at 0640 GMT, a 0.2 percent decline, after closing Tuesday at $62.11 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $53.66 a barrel at the same time for a 0.2 percent loss after ending the previous session at $53.79 per barrel.
Trump stated that China has taken advantage of the U.S.' trade policies for decades, and said a new trade deal with Beijing needs to have "real structural change," during his 90-minute speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C at the U.S. House of Representatives.
"We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end," Trump said.
"We are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit and protect American jobs," he added.
A new round of trade negotiations between American and Chinese officials will start in Beijing next week.
Trump said last week the talks between the world's two biggest economies are "going well with good intent and spirit on both sides," adding no final deal would be made until he meets with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping.
The two leaders agreed on Dec. 1 that their countries would not impose further reciprocal tariffs for a period of 90 days. The U.S.' tariffs on China are set to increase to 25 percent on March 1.
If the world's two largest oil consumers fail to reach a bilateral trade deal, this could bring down their economic growth, oil demand, and eventually push crude prices down, experts warn.
By Ovunc Kutlu