Brazil to monitor steel imports after US Section 232 tariffs

The Brazilian government will monitor imports of steel products in order to detect if there is any diversion of volumes previously exported to the United States following that country's imposition of a 25% tariff on steel imports from certain countries, according to national steel institute Aço Brasil.

We discussed the issue with [Brazilian] President Michel Temer and Brazil has decided to establish a system to monitor steel imports, Aço Brasil executive president Marco Polo de Mello Lopes said on Thursday March 22.

Imports of all steel products will be monitored by a government agency in order to evaluate eventual trade defense measures.

“We must look at all imports through a magnifying glass on a daily or weekly basis to see if there is a surge of steel imports,” Lopes said. “Our main concern is that we have agile trade defense instruments to prevent Brazil from becoming the destination of diverted steel trade.”

Meanwhile, the institute welcomed the decision by the US government 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, according to Aço Brasil.

“We were able to send a message to the US government that Brazilian exports to the country have a peculiar characteristic,” Lopes said, but warned that efforts by the Brazilian government and national industry should continue.

“I urged Temer to make a phone call to [US President Donald] Trump today or tomorrow,” he said. “Trump is the only person in charge of a final decision.”

The institute is making arrangements for a third visit to the US, aiming to meet representatives of the coal and steel sectors and authorities.

“We want Brazil to be definitely excluded from Section 232 measures,” Lopes said.

The US tariffs – 25% for imported steel and 10% on aluminium – are set to go into effect on March 23 following conclusions from the Section 232 investigation on alleged national security issues related to such imports.

Termer had said on Wednesday that the US duties would not be applied to Brazilian products before negotiations between the countries are concluded, with one trader expressing optimism that Brazilian steel, especially slab, would not be included.

Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Brazilian slab exports increased to $580-590 per tonne fob on March 16 from $560-570 per tonne fob a week earlier.