"Negotiations are at full steam, and [the US] will apply voluntary restraint agreements - country by country," CSN commercial executive director Luis Fernando Martinez said on Tuesday March 27.

If exempted, CSN's hot-rolled coil exports would be sent for further rolling in the company's US facility in the state of Indiana.

"Brazil will likely solve this [issue] in two or three weeks, eventually accepting quotas, like South Korea," chief executive officer Benjamin Steinbruch said.

On Thursday March 22, the US government decided to delay imposing the 25% tariff on steel imports from Brazil and other countries. The suspension will last for a minimum period of 30 days while negotiations are ongoing.

Meanwhile, CSN is planning to divert to the Brazilian domestic market volumes of zinc-coated steel products it had been sending to the US, because the company expects the domestic market to continue improving.

"In 2017, we exported around 370,000 tonnes [of zinc-coated steel products] to the US that will return to the [Brazilian] local market this year," Martinez said.

In total, CSN expects to sell 1.2 million tonnes of zinc-coated products to Brazilian buyers in 2018, compared with 818,000 tonnes last year, according to Martinez. CSN also expects shipment volumes to the domestic market to account for around 80-85% of total steel sales this year.

In the fourth quarter 2017, in contrast, the national market accounted for 61% of CSN's total sales volumes.

"This is the year of the domestic market," Martinez said.