WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III today voiced doubt that the Reagan Administration would consider any new tax or fee on imported oil to prop up the nation's sagging oil industry.
Despite hard times for energy-producing areas of the country, Baker said, "the lower oil prices go, the better it is for the United States economy overall."
Baker also denied that the Administration is seeking to negotiate a cease-fire in the worldwide oil price war.
"We're not in the business of sitting down with OPEC and talking about price levels for oil," he said, in a reference to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. "We believe in letting the free market operate."
Baker was interviewed on NBC-TV's "Today" program.
Bush and Saudi Arabia
He reiterated comments by other Administration officials in denying that Vice President George Bush's trip to Saudi Arabia was a mission to persuade the Saudi government to cut back its oil production.