Saudis Warn Trump About Cutting Oil Imports

(GPA) Riyadh – The Saudi Energy Minister has warned President-Elect Donald Trump that blocking the imports of Saudi oil and other materials and goods is “not healthy.”

Khalid Al-Falih, head of Aramco and Energy Ministry, responded to Trump’s campaign promise of making the US “energy independent” in an interview with Financial Times this week.

The interview was conducted at the latest round of UN climate talks being held in Marrakesh. Falih warned that Trump risks the health of the American economy if he follows through on many of his isolationist trade proposals. Falih was hopeful that Trump “will see the benefits and I think the oil industry will also be advising him accordingly that blocking trade in any product is not healthy.”

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Flickr: Tribes of the World
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Flickr: Tribes of the World

Many people may not agree with Donald Trump on many of his policies but the left and the right probably support ending the parasitic relationship with Saudi Arabia. The question now is; will Trump stick to this promise despite bringing in a host of political and economic insiders to his cabinet?

Those insiders may end up agreeing with the sentiments expressed by Falih that the US can’t just opt out of the global market they’ve invested so heavily in. Retail giants have already come out and warned Trump to be “pragmatic” in his trade policies – especially concerning Southeast Asia – warning that the negative effects could be passed on to customers or the growing labor force in the industry instead of the companies themselves.

The Saudis only have around an 11% share as of now in the US oil market, and most of the oil consumed by the US actually is produced domestically along with another 40% imported from Canada. The Saudis are only one country on a list of over 80 that the US imports oil products from.

Trump’s commitment to attacking Saudi markets is questionable, like the other commitments he’s made and already gone back on. Even more so when you realize Trump has had a very profitable relationship with Saudi Arabia (and other gulf states) in the past. None of this is even factoring in the massive investment Saudi nationals hold in the US markets as a whole.

Some environmentalists are concerned about Trump looking to begin new drilling in the arctic to produce more oil under the banner of US companies. While nobody can be sure of what he’ll do next, there may already be some laws on the books that could block this new drilling.

If Donald Trump is really concerned with OPEC’s de facto Saudi leadership having a stranglehold on the United States then maybe it is time to hold up other oil producers in the world who would be more favorable to adapting to work with a less belligerent US – Venezuela for example, could be a prime target of a country that would be much more willing to bargain in good faith than the Saudis. If it is the regional hegemony and exporting of terror that concerns the next president, may we suggest holding off on trashing the Iran nuclear deal and instead bolstering them as a counter-weight to Wahhabism in the Middle East?