Nov 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Russian oil price cap negotiations: "It's in play"

Joe Biden at a fire station

Joe Biden visits with firefighters at a Nantucket, Massachusetts, fire station to thank first responders during the Thanksgiving Day holiday, on Nov. 24. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday that negotiations between the U.S. and its allies over imposing a price cap on Russian oil are ongoing and confirmed that he had spoken to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the issue.

What they're saying: "It's in play," Biden told reporters while visiting a fire station in Nantucket, Massachusetts, per a White House pool report.

  • “This is no time to walk away from Ukraine, not at all," Biden said.

The big picture: The U.S. and its allies for months have been debating a potential price cap on Russian oil. The cap is intended to limit Russia's ability to profit from its oil exports and curb its ability to fund its war against Ukraine, while also limiting the invasion's effect on global energy prices.

  • Russia is the world's second-largest crude oil exporter, and Europe, unlike the U.S., is hugely reliant on Russian oil, gas and coal, Axios' Ben Geman writes.
  • Officials from the European Union's 27 member states will continue negotiations Thursday over what limit to set for how much buyers outside the EU can pay for Russian oil, the New York Times reported.

State of play: The policy needs to be in place before the EU's planned embargo on Russian oil enters into effect on Dec. 5, per the Times.

  • But member states have been deeply divided for months over what the price cap should be.
  • The G7 countries — including the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan — as well as the EU and Australia, will implement the price cap starting Dec. 5, per Reuters.
  • The price cap will require unanimous consent among the EU's 27 members, and the U.S. has allowed the bloc to take the lead in determining a price that can win the bloc's approval, according to the New York Times.

The other side: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that efforts by the West to impose a price cap on Russian oil are "contrary to the principles of market relations and are highly likely to lead to grave consequences for global energy markets," the Kremlin said in a readout of Putin's call with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, Agence France-Presse reported.

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