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ECONOMY | 21-12-2019 08:33

Bolsonaro claims US will scrap tariffs on Brazilian steel, aluminium

Brazilian leader announces Donald Trump is scrapping planned tariffs on Brazilian steel and aluminium, following a telephone call between the two leaders. No confirmation – nor news on what happens to Argentina.

US President Donald Trump told Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Friday he won’t reimpose tariffs on steel and aluminium from the Latin American nation, a person familiar with the discussions said.

The US president had a phone call with his Brazilian counterpart to discuss trade, he said on his Twitter account. This comes amid uncertainty over whether the White House planned to follow through with a threat to impose the duties on Brazil and Argentina.

The person confirming the tariffs won’t return declined to be identified.

Bolsonaro later announced Friday that his US counterpart Donald Trump was scrapping planned tariffs on Brazilian steel and aluminium, following a telephone call between the two leaders.

"[Trump] was persuaded by my arguments and decided... that our steel and aluminium would not be" subject to tariffs, Bolsonaro said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

Trump tweeted that he had a "great call" with Bolsonaro and that they had discussed trade, but did not mention any agreement on cancelling tariffs.

Earlier this month, the United States had reimposed tariffs on steel and aluminium from Brazil and Argentina, in a serious blow to Bolsonaro's plan to strengthen the alliance between the western hemisphere's two largest economies.

Bolsonaro said Trump had changed his mind in a phone call initiated by the US president.

"The Americans are our great partners. We have a lot in common. The personal friendship... that I feel for him and that he has for me are further strengthened," Bolsonaro said following the call.

Trump last year announced global tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium but later approved exemptions for some countries, including Argentina and Brazil after they agreed to quotas.

Brazil is the second-largest supplier of steel to the US market behind Canada.

– TIMES/BLOOMBERG/AFP

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