President Trump announced Monday morning that tariffs would immediately be restored on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina in response to the countries devaluing their currencies. Both Brazil and Argentina were exempt from the original Section 232 tariffs imposed in March 2018, which placed a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum. However, Brazil’s steel industry and Argentina’s steel and aluminum industries were given quotas on how much could be imported into the U.S. on June 1, 2018 as part of their exemption.
The President tweeted this morning, “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 into the U.S. from those countries. 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. This makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods. Lower Rates & Loosen – Fed!”
According to the Washington Post, steel and aluminum exports represent approximately $700 million in Argentina and Brazil’s steel exports to the U.S. account for approximately $2.6 billion.
Aluminum Extruders Council president Jeff Henderson told USGNN™ that his organization opposes the announcement.
“Since their inception, the Aluminum Extruders Council has opposed the 232 tariffs on aluminum imports from market-based economies. This regressive tax on consumers is injuring U.S. aluminum extruders at a time when the market is slowing and foreign imports are rising. This announcement is clearly a step in the wrong direction,” he says.
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) also strongly criticized the announcement.
“WDMA is very disappointed with the president’s decision to reinstate tariffs on steel and aluminum from Argentina and Brazil,” says WDMA president and CEO Michael O’Brien. “This sudden action could result in price increases for window, door and skylight manufacturers and create further uncertainty in the residential and commercial construction markets. WDMA calls on the Trump Administration to abide by its 2018 agreements with both Argentina and Brazil to exclude imports from Section 232 tariffs.”
Trump is using Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to impose the tariffs. It’s a law passed in 1962 that allows tariffs to be imposed by the president when imports are deemed to be damaging to U.S. national security.