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ECONOMY | 01-05-2018 20:34

Government celebrates exemption from US steel, aluminium tariffs

Under the agreement, Argentina will have a exemption-free quota of 180,000 metric tonnes of both metals.

The Foreign Ministry has hailed US President Donald Trump’s decision to grant Argentina an exemption from tariffs on aluminium and steel, saying it reflects “the strategic link and the excellent working relationship that has been forged with the US government."

Under the agreement, Argentina will have a quota of 180,000 metric tonnes of both metals which are exempt from tariffs.

Production Minister Francisco Cabrera confirmed the news on Tuesday, following a statement from Washington.

“After intense negotiations we reached an agreement with the government of the United States allowing Argentine aluminium and steel exports to be exempt from tariffs,” Cabrera said in a press release.

The White House said that US President Donald Trump and his administration had decided to grant permanent exemptions for Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea. However, it said Trump was extending the exemptions from punishing metals tariffs for Canada, Mexico and the EU for a further 30 days.

The EU expressed disappointment, saying the decision would "prolong uncertainty," and called for a permanent exemption.

Back in March, the Trump administration slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, sparking heavy lobbying from the affected nations, including Argentina.

In quotes provided for a recent New York Times article, Trade Secretary Miguel Braun – who was sent by Macri to Washington to lobby for an exemption – said the relationship between Presidents Macri and Trump was an important factor in the final decision.

“In the conversations that we have on the issue, the positive relationships between our governments — and our presidents — certainly comes up,” Braun told the US newspaper.

The United States is the main destination for Argentine steel and aluminium exports, with exports worth around US$700 million dollars, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The Argentine Steel Chamber (CAA) celebrated the decision, calling it “good news for the national steel industry, but also for the entire country.”

- TIMES/AFP

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