Brazil to look for ways to be excluded from US 232 tariffs, ministry says

Brazil will look for ways to avoid being included in any measures related to the US Section 232 investigation into steel and aluminum imports.

“The Brazilian government is deeply concerned about the information released today that the United States intends to impose an additional tariff of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium imports as a result of the investigation based on Section 232,” the country’s foreign trade ministry, MDIC, said in a note late on Thursday March 1.

“If confirmed, the trade restriction will affect Brazilian exports from both [steel and aluminium] sectors,” the ministry added.

During a meeting with steel and aluminium executives Thursday, US President Donald Trump confirmed that he will sign the tariffs into order sometime next week and keep them in place for a “long” period of time.

But Brazil expects to constructively work with the US to avoid the possible application of import tariffs, which would bring significant losses to metals producers and consumers in both countries, MDIC minister Marcos Jorge told US Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross during a meeting this week in Washington.

“The Brazilian government does not rule out possible complementary actions, in the multilateral and bilateral scope, to preserve its interests in this case,” MDIC said.

Jorge, along with executives from Brazilian steel companies and members of the Brazilian steel institute, Aço Brasil, met members of the US Congress, White House officials and participants of the US steel and coal industries earlier this week to reiterate that Brazil-origin steel does not threaten the US security.

The steel production structures of both countries are complementary, since about 80% of Brazilian steel exports are of semi-finished products, an important input for the US steel industry, according to MDIC.

At the same time, Brazil is also the largest importer of US steel coal - totaling about $1 billion in 2017 - which is a relevant input for Brazilian steel production, the ministry added.

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