The government of Donald Trump announced Monday that seeks to cut steel imports from Brazil and Mexico because of the difficult conditions facing the local market due to the pandemic.
The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer, announced in a statement that it will reduce the remaining quota for 2020 from 350 thousand metric tons to 60 thousand tons for semi-finished steel products.
“In view of the recent deterioration in market conditions caused by the pandemic affecting local steel producers, the United States has considered it necessary to reduce the remaining quotas for semi-finished steel products,” the USTR said.
In May 2018, Trump benefited Brazil from an exception to tariffs for imported steel products.
“This exemption was maintained in 2019 as a result of the constructive dialogue between Presidents (Jair) Bolsonaro and Trump,” said the USTR, thanking Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo.
Brazil represents about 14% of all steel imports from the United States and is its second supplier behind Canada.
With respect to Mexico, the United States will establish “a strict surveillance regime for these products until June 1, 2021.”
The countries will establish bilateral consultations in December 2020 to follow up on the issue.
The head of the USTR, Robert Lighthizer, praised the “cooperation and constructive commitment” of the Mexican Economy Secretary, Graciela Márquez, to reach this agreement “despite the unprecedented challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic” poses for both countries.
“Our successful consultations on steel demonstrate that it is possible for us to work together to find creative solutions that serve the interests of workers and businesses in both countries,” said Lighthizer.
Mexico and the United States had entered into negotiations on increasing Mexican steel exports after signing a joint statement on May 17, 2019.
Specifically, the differences arose from the increased supply of three Mexican steel products: standard pipe, mechanical pipe and semi-finished products.
Following the agreement, “Mexico will establish a strict export monitoring regime for these products until June 1, 2021 and will closely monitor shipments during this period,” the USTR said.
In exchange, the United States will maintain the exemption from tariffs on imports of these products from Mexico and both countries promised to review the issue next December “in light of market conditions at the time.”
“Our successful consultations on steel prove that it is possible for us to work together to find a creative solution that serves the interests of workers in both countries,” added the trade representative’s office.
Source: The Mexico City Post