Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has sent a letter to US President Donald Trump urging him to file a trade dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for manipulating oil production.
For decades, OPEC has consistently manipulated the supply and price of oil, colluding to establish production levels in order to control prices in the world market, according to DeFazio, who for the past twenty years has asked the sitting President to bring a WTO dispute against OPEC member nations for these manipulations.
“I share President Trump’s commitment to strengthening America’s position in the global economy by negotiating fairer trade deals,” said Rep. DeFazio. “By challenging the OPEC’s unfair collusion to manipulate oil production, President Trump has an opportunity to not only make good on his campaign promises, but break from the tradition of previous presidents and take a stand on a critical trade issue that costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars. I am urging the Trump administration to stand up for American consumers and businesses that are being gouged by OPEC.”
According to DeFazio, OPEC’s most recent collusion occurred in November 2016, where OPEC and non-OPEC nations agreed to decrease production by 1.8 million barrels per day, effective January 1, 2017, in order to keep the price of oil at artificially high levels. Since that meeting, the countries have made significant progress in limiting output, already having reduced production by 1.5 million barrels per day.
Under Article XI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), member countries are prohibited from using anything other than “duties, taxes or other charges,” to limit imports or exports across their borders. Oil production quotas clearly violate this statute, according to DeFazio.