US President Donald Trump has suspended steel and aluminium tariffs against Argentina until May 1, citing its “important security relationship” with Argentina.
In a proclamation released Thursday evening, the administration based Argentina’s exemption on a “shared commitment to face the global excess of steel production capacity; reciprocal investment in our respective industrial bases and the strong economic integration between our countries.”
The statement also cited Venezuela’s unstable political situation as a key national security concern for both countries.
Washington already had announced that major metals exporters Canada and Mexico would be exempt as talks continue to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Aside from Argentina, the European Union, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea are also exempted.
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, US Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer had said "the idea that the president has is that, based on a certain set of criteria, that some countries should get out.”
This comes only a few weeks after the Argentine Foreign Ministry and Production Ministry appealed to the US Department of Commerce, led by Wilbur Ross.
“Among our arguments, we emphasise the small participation our sales have in the US market. In effect, Argentine exports represent just 0.6 percent of steel and 2.3 percent of aluminium imports into the United States in those respective areas”, their statement reads.
Argentine firms, in particular, would have been hit hard by the tariff – in 2015, the country exported US$320 million and US$493 million of aluminium and steel respectively to the US.