WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday said he would immediately restore tariffs on US steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina, prompting at least one counterpart to vow talks with the Republican president.
Emerging market stocks and the highly sensitive Mexican peso slid to session lows following Trump’s vow, which came in an early morning post on Twitter that gave no other details on the planned trade action.
“Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies, which is not good for our farmers. Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the US from those countries,” Trump wrote.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed Trump fan who has actively sought closer US ties, said he could speak directly with the American leader and that he would also discuss Trump’s declaration with Brazil’s economy minister.
Trump on Monday also urged the Federal Reserve to prevent countries from gaining an economic advantage by devaluing their currencies.
“The Federal Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar,” Trump tweeted. “Lower Rates & Loosen — Fed!”
Trump has repeatedly urged the US central bank to lower rates to below zero, arguing that negative rates in Europe and elsewhere give those countries a competitive advantage.
However, Fed policymakers have been reluctant to take the unorthodox policy steps tried by other global central banks. The US central bank’s policymaking committee holds its next meeting on Dec 10-11.