Brazil seeks to learn more about steel tax unveiled by US

The decision was not officially announced to Brazil’s government

Published in 03/12/2019 - 11:55 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Brasília

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo said the government wants to better understand the decision of US President Donald Trump to restore the tax on Brazilian steel and aluminum. “One must act with calm,” the minister declared.

“It’s a sector that had been a concern for Americans since last year, so, as I say, we’ll try to understand, and then see how we can talk to the US. With a lot of calm, we’ll reach an understanding regarding this,” he told journalists at the Planalto presidential palace on Monday (Dec. 2).

Despite Trump’s announcement, the US government is yet to make any change in tariff rules governing steel and aluminum imports from Brazil official.

In the afternoon, Bolsonaro met with Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, also at the Planalto palace, to discuss the topic, but they did not talk to the press afterwards. In the morning, the Brazilian president said he could resort to the “open channel” he has with Trump in order to prevent the imposition of the tariff mentioned.

When asked by reporters whether Bolsonaro will call the US leader immediately, the Brazilian chancellor said “no, for now.” Ernesto Araújo went on to say it is time to assess the matter “at technical level,” in a bid to come to terms with what measure will eventually be adopted.

The minister also said the measure is no reason for concern. “This move doesn’t concern us and doesn’t pull us off our track towards deeper ties.”

Late in August this year, the US government made such imports more flexible, when it decided that companies negotiating steel from Brazil did not need to pay an extra 25 percent on the original price, provided that it is demonstrated that the raw material in question cannot be found in the US market. Brazil is among the main suppliers of steel and iron to the US.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Brasília

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