Oil Glut Conspiracy
Okla. Group Files Dumping Complaint
A group of independent oil producers from Oklahoma,
asks the Commerce Department to impose stiff duties on
oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Mexico and Venezuela for
allegedly selling petroleum below market prices.
Claimed a special report by the Wash. Post'
"But even before the filing, word of the case was causing
considerable head-scratching among trade experts,
who find it hard to understand the rationale for alleging such
dumping of a commodity that is widely traded on global markets."
"When I first heard about this, I had the reaction a lot of
people are having -- 'You've got to be kidding,' " said Robert Litan
the director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution.
"But apparently they're not kidding."
Duhh! They are trying to make sure customers
do not switch to alternatives for environmental reasons.
Harold Hamm, founder of Save Domestic Oil Inc., filed the complaint.
"The domestic oil industry, which is experiencing the
worst crisis since the Great Depression, has lost more than
100,000 jobs in the last year, representing 20 percent of the labor force,"
Hamm said in a statement.
Details of the complaint weren't released, but the statement
accused the four targeted countries of selling oil
"at less than fair value" and using government subsidies to compete unfairly.
They also cited a Dec. 1997 story in the Oil Daily,
a trade publication, that quoted officials of Venezuela's
national oil company advocating an effort to bring world
oil prices down to gain market share, because lower prices would
"force some high-cost producers, particularly in the United States, out of business."
"I hope the conversation was recorded."
Under America's anti-dumping law, countries can be
found guilty of dumping when their products sell in the
U.S. market at lower prices than their home markets.
Countries can be charged with dumping
when their products are sold in the United States
below the average cost of production.
Some claim it won't work in this case as the suspect countries
charge their own people little for oil, in an effort to keep them happy
But the complaint uses another legal standard to prove dumping.
It claims the 4 accused countries are selling oil in the United States
more cheaply than they sell in other parts of the world,
The Post quoted The Brookings Institution's Litan.
"There's a silver lining in this for someone like me," he said.
"This is such a ludicrous example of how the dumping
law can be exploited, it may actually put dumping
law reform on the international trade agenda.
It may wake people up and make them say,
'This statute is ridiculous.' "
I don't understand his complaint.
If they are deliberately trying to drive competitors out of
business w/ subsidized oil, then they are clearly dumping.