Former Vice President Joe Biden has reached out to China to seek support for the release of 250 million barrels of oil from U.S. and other commercial reserves in hopes of containing rising international prices.
Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping in August about his proposal and raised it with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in a phone call last month, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
Several Chinese state-run media reports have since confirmed the story, which was first reported by the Financial Times.
China bought $63 billion worth of oil from the United States in 2016, almost half of its total purchases from the Americas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Citing unnamed U.S. and Chinese officials, the Financial Times said Biden’s measure was not meant to dampen Chinese oil demand, but was aimed at shoring up the global economic outlook. Chinese oil imports rose 25 percent in the first nine months of this year to more than 9 million barrels a day, the report said.
Some analysts had predicted China’s oil imports would slip as new U.S. tariffs kicked in last month, but the cost of oil spiked to its highest since June in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
Biden, along with former President Barack Obama, has long advocated for a United States role in helping to ease international oil prices. When the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced plans to limit global oil production last year, Biden called on Saudi Arabia to “do something about high oil prices,” the Post reported.
The former vice president also has spoken to countries other than China about its oil initiative, including fellow BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, according to the Post.
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Iran accuses US of ‘negative impact’ on its companies, economy In August, the State Department approved a first shipment of American oil oil – to Mexico from Trinidad and Tobago – and West African crude made up of about 75 percent low-sulfur crude oil and 25 percent African crude oil, according to an article in the Financial Times. The shipments allowed Mexico to meet international standards and certify it had met U.S. environmental laws, said Lisa Shields, acting assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy, the report said.
“The market is both demanding and willing to pay for American crude,” she said.
– Amy Harder and The Washington Post