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The United States is considering proposing that European countries impose a tariff on Russian oil to allay concerns about the security of supply and surging oil prices, U.S. Treasury officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
The proposal is expected to be suggested at the G7 finance summit in Brussels later this week, as the EU is still struggling to find a common position on a phased-out embargo on Russian oil imports by the end of the year.
G7 members committed earlier this month to stop buying Russian oil, although they did not specify how and when this would happen. The U.S. banned imports of Russian energy products, including oil, LNG, and coal as early as the beginning of March. Europe, however, cannot afford to stop oil purchases from Russia outright, fearing a shortage of supply and record-high oil and other energy prices that could plunge most economies into a recession.
In early May, the European Commission officially proposed a full ban on Russian crude and oil product imports, to come into effect by the end of the year. But the EU is still scrambling to find a common position, trying to persuade Hungary and some other central and eastern European countries to drop their opposition to an embargo.
At a meeting on Monday, the foreign ministers of the EU failed to persuade Hungary to drop its veto on an embargo. Diplomats hope that a summit at the end of May could reach a unanimous decision on a ban on Russian oil, to be phased out over six months and with exemptions for central European countries including Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Now the U.S. is set to propose a tariff that would keep Russian oil on the market but limit the oil revenues for Putin, the Treasury officials told reporters, as carried by Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.