Washington – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that planned to restore steel and aluminum tariffs against Brazil and Argentina in response to the two South American countries’ devaluation of their currencies.
“Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies, which is not good for our farmers.
“Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the tariffs on all steel and aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries,’’ Trump tweeted.
The economies in Argentina and Brazil have been suffering weak growth following political upheavals.
They were granted waivers exempting them from the 25-per-cent steel tariffs and 10-per-cent aluminum tariffs that the White House introduced in 2018, but the move to impose the tariffs appears to reverse that exemption.
The Trump administration imposed the tariffs citing national security concerns.
The president also urged the U.S. Federal Reserve to lower interest rates so that countries that devalue their currency “no longer take advantage of our strong dollar.”
Trump said this “makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods.”
Trump regularly complains about the Federal Reserve, accusing the central bank of impeding economic growth by moving too slowly to cut interest rates.
The Fed has cut rates three times this year, in November setting the range at 1.5 to 1.75 per cent, and will meet again next week to decide on whether to change the rate.
Similarly, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he was almost certain Trump will listen to Brazil’s economic concerns, after Trump said earlier he would re-impose tariffs on Brazilian and Argentine steel and aluminum.
“Their economy is not comparable with ours, it’s many times bigger.
“I don’t see this as retaliation.
“I’m going to call him so that he doesn’t penalise us … Our economy basically comes from commodities, it’s what we’ve got.
“I hope that he understands and that he doesn’t penalize us with this, and I’m almost certain he’ll listen to us,” Bolsonaro said.