Brazil’s Bolsonaro in plea for Trump understanding on tariffs

04 Décembre, 2019, 21:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Donald Trump also urged the Federal Reserve to prevent countries from gaining an economic advantage by devaluing their currencies

President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday said he would appeal to US President Donald Trump to show understanding towards Brazil in a looming row over fresh steel and aluminum tariffs.

The move appeared to surprise his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, who considers himself an ideological ally of the Republican leader. Industry leaders in both countries cried foul.

"Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies, which is not good for our farmers", Trump wrote.

Mr Trump opened up a new front in his trade war by tweeting that he would reinstate tariffs, effective immediately, on all steel and aluminium shipped into the United States by the two South American nations. The president's threat to reverse that decision and impose the metals tariffs on Argentina and Brazil is another example of his mercurial approach to trade policy.

Bolsonaro had previously stated that he would not delay in directly contacting Trump to settle the issue. "I hope that he understands and that he doesn't penalize us with this, and I'm nearly certain he'll listen to us", Reuters quoted Bolsonaro in a radio interview with Brazil's Radio Itatiaia.

The Brazilian leader added he was confident he would receive a favorable hearing from the U.S. president.

"I'm going to call him so that he doesn't penalize us".

Brazil's Steel Institute said it was perplexed by Trump's decision. Brazil and Argentina are both big exporters of agricultural products.

Brazil is the second-largest supplier of steel to the U.S. market behind Canada. But it recovered to trade stronger at 4.2230 per United States dollar.

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington. This makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods.

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Jose Urtubey, spokesman for Argentina's powerful UIA industrial lobby, said producers in the country will be harmed immediately by the tariffs. He explained the move as a measure to protect American steel and aluminum factories from overseas competition.

The head of Argentina's only aluminum producer, Javier Mandanes Quintanilla of the Aluar Group, viewed the tariff plan with trepidation.

This year through September, Scott said that the "total imports are down about 3.3 million tons and yet, imports from Brazil are up about 3.4 million tons".

At its most recent meeting, in October, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates for a third time this year to try to support the USA economy.

"The Federal Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar by further devaluing their currencies. Lower Rates & Loosen - Fed!"

But it has signaled it will stand back before deciding on any further moves.

The Sino-U.S. trade war might have figured in the metals tariffs, since China bought huge amounts of soybeans from Brazil, the world's largest exporter of the oilseed, after retaliatory tariffs made U.S. soybeans uncompetitive.

American steel has continued to suffer, with overall employment edging downward and production halted at blast furnaces last month.

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