Trump Says U.S. Will Impose Metal Tariffs on Brazil and Argentina


President Trump said on Monday that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina, widening a global trade war and hitting an ally, Brazil’s conservative president.

Mr. Trump, in a message on Twitter, said what he called currency manipulation by Brazil and Argentina was hurting American farmers. “Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries.”

The Trump administration never imposed tariffs on Brazilian and Argentine metals, though it did force them to limit shipments to the United States under a quota system last year. The United States initially exempted Brazil and Argentina from the president’s sweeping metal tariffs in 2018, with the United States saying it would continue negotiations with those countries on a trade deal.

The announcement also revived the threat of steel and aluminum tariffs in particular, which the administration has steadily rolled back over the last year as it reached settlements with Canada, Mexico and other countries.

The president began placing stiff tariffs on global metals last year to stop what his administration contended was a flood of imported steel and aluminum that was threatening American producers and thus American national security. The idea has been disputed, with several countries bringing cases against the United States at the World Trade Organization.

Tariffs have had limited benefits for the steel industry. Many American steel producers supported the tariffs and say they have provided some protection against cheaper metals imported from abroad. But other economic factors have proved more influential, including China’s large-scale production and a weakening manufacturing sector in the United States and abroad.

The tariffs have also angered American manufacturers of automobiles, machinery, food packaging and other products, who must pay more for the metal they purchase.

As of Monday morning, neither the Office of the United States Trade Representative nor the Commerce Department had issued the formal notices that would put tariffs on Brazil and Argentina into effect.

Both Argentina and Brazil have benefited from the president’s trade war with China, which has hurt American exports of soybeans and other products.

Brazil and Argentina have picked up much of that business, replacing the United States as a large purveyor of farm goods to China.


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