President Donald J. Trump has announced that he is reinstating 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Argentina and Brazil. In late August 2018, the president signed a proclamation allowing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to provide targeted relief from quotas imposed under Section 232 on steel from South Korea, Argentina and Brazil and on aluminum from Argentina.
In January 2018, Ross submitted two reports to the president on the effects of steel and aluminum imports on the national security of the United States. The reports found that steel and aluminum were being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security as defined in section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
In March 2018, Trump initiated a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The tariffs entered into effect for most countries March 23, 2018; but, following negotiations, quotas were placed on steel imports from Argentina, Brazil and South Korea and for aluminum imports from Argentina in lieu of the tariffs.
According to a Bloomberg article, Trump has criticized Argentina and Brazil for cheapening their currencies to the detriment of U.S. farmers as those nations have become suppliers of soybeans and other agricultural products to China at the expense of the U.S. in the face of the U.S.-China trade war.
“While the steel tariffs could crimp trade, the Latin American countries gain much more shipping crops to Chinese buyers,” the Bloomberg article states. “In the first 10 months of the year, Brazil has shipped $25.5 billion in farm products including soybeans and pork to China. That’s more than 10 times the value of steel and iron product sold to the U.S.”
Argentina’s soybean shipments to China totaled $2.4 billion in 2017, which was more than three times the value of the country’s aluminum and iron pipe exports to the U.S., Bloomberg adds.