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Is Opec An Organisation Or A Cartel?

This is the interesting question which is being debated in the US with concerns that Opec may in fact be an illegal cartel in all but name. Whether this is true or not is open to interpretation but it seems as though the US authorities are looking to try every trick in the book to look after their own interests.

While the Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008 was recently passed in Congress it is highly unlikely to become enshrined in US law. The simple fact is that if the US government were to prosecute Opec through the US courts with regard to violating US anti-trust laws, the move would be highly likely to backfire with Opec members looking to retaliate in whatever way they could. For this simple reason it looks as though whether through a technical situation or a veto from the President, the Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act of 2008 will be buried like many other hollow threats in the past.

Try as they might there is very little that the US authorities can do to influence the oil price in the short term, because while the Middle East countries need the US in the long term, there are many US business interests in these Opec member states. Any threat of legal action would no doubt see a tit for tat retaliation where nobody wins.

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