he governor of Donald Trump announced on Monday that it is trying to cut steel imports of Brazil and off Mexico due to the difficult conditions facing the local market pandemic.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer, announced in a statement that it will reduce the remaining quota for 2020 from 350 thousand tons to 60 thousand tons for semi-finished steel products.
“Given the recent deterioration in market conditions caused by the pandemic affecting local steelmakers, the United States has considered it necessary to reduce the remaining quotas for semi-finished products,”
In May 2018, Trump benefited Brazil from an exemption from tariffs on imported steel products.
“This exception was maintained in 2019 as a result of the constructive dialogue between Presidents (Jair) Bolsonaro and Trump,” the USTR said, thanking Secretary of State Ernesto Araújo.
Brazil represents about 14% of all steel imports from the United States and is its second supplier after Canada.
In the case of Mexico, the United States will establish “a strict surveillance regime for these products until June 1, 2021.”
The countries will set up bilateral consultations in December 2020 to follow up the issue.
The head of the USTR, Robert Lighthizer, praised the “cooperation and constructive commitment of the Secretary of State for the Mexican Economy” Graciela Márquez to reach this agreement “despite the unparalleled challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic” for both countries.
“Our successful steel consultations show that it is possible for us to work together to find creative solutions that serve the interests of workers and companies in both countries,” says Lighthizer.
Mexico and the United States had begun negotiations on increased Mexican steel exports after signing a joint statement on May 17, 2019.
Specifically, the differences arose from the increased supply of three Mexican steel products: standard pipes, mechanical pipes and semi-finished products.
Following the agreement, “Mexico will establish a strict export monitoring regime for these products until June 1, 2021 and will closely monitor transportation during this period,” the USTR said.
In exchange, the United States will retain the exemption from customs duties on imports of these products from Mexico, and both countries promised to examine the issue next December “in the light of market conditions at the time.”
“Our successful steel consultations show that it is possible for us to work together to find a creative solution that serves the interests of workers in both countries,” added the Trade Representative’s office.
Read more: In Latin America, steel production decreases by 19%
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