Donald Trump announced Monday, December 2 the restoration of tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina. The announcement was greeted with surprise by the two countries concerned.
The news was announced on Twitter. " Brazil and Argentina have massively devalued their currencies, it's not good for our farmers. I will immediately restore taxes on all steel and aluminum from these countries, "wrote Monday morning the US President on his favorite social network.
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 & Aluminum that is shipped to the US from those countries. The Federal ....Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
Donald Trump talks about reimposing tariffs that have in fact never been applied to these two countries, recalls our correspondent in Washington, Anne Corpet . Brazil and Argentina had been exempted from steel and aluminum taxes in 2018, but shipments of these metals to the United States had been limited by a quota system.
The implementation of these taxes has not yet been confirmed by the Treasury Department or the Trade Secretariat. But with his message, Donald Trump confirms that he continues to have an aggressive approach to negotiations and that he is concerned about the fate of American farmers, very affected by the trade war against Beijing.
China has also turned to Brazil and Argentina to provide agricultural products, including soybean it no longer buys Americans. It is perhaps also what provokes the presidential anger against these two countries.
"I'm going to talk to him, I hope he'll understand"
" I'm going to talk to him (to Donald Trump) so he does not penalize us ," Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro responded in an interview to local media, Radio Itatiaia . His words " refer to raw materials, and raw materials are the basis of our economy, " he continued. " I hope he'll understand us ," " I'm pretty sure he'll hear us ."
If the Brazilian head of state prides himself on having excellent relations with his American counterpart, the announcement of the latter represents very bad news for Brazil, a big exporter. The United States is the largest customer, especially for semi-finished steel products from Brazil, accounting for 42% of the 13.9 million tonnes of steel products exported by Brazil last year, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
The real, the Brazilian currency, crossed last week for the first time the threshold of 4.27 reais for a dollar, a new historic record of decline. The real has lost 5% since the beginning of November against the dollar. According to analysts, this depreciation is not due to an intervention of Brasilia, as Donald Trump asserts, but to international uncertainties including the trade war between Washington and Beijing, and doubts about the ability of the Bolsonaro government to put in place its austerity reforms.
Last week, if the Minister of the Economy has pushed back the real saying he was not concerned about the decline in the currency, the Central Bank has however intervened several times in the markets to limit the erosion.