U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he would restore tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina, surprising officials in the two South American countries who sought explanations.
This story originally appeared in Reuters.
Emerging market stocks and the highly sensitive Mexican peso slid to session lows following Trump’s early morning post on Twitter that gave no details on the plan.
Representatives for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative could not be reached for comment.
“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 U.S. from those countries,” Trump wrote.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed Trump fan who has sought closer U.S. ties, said in local radio interview that he would call his U.S. counterpart, who he was confident would listen to Brazil’s concerns.
Argentine Production Minister Dante Sica said Trump’s announcement was “unexpected” and he was seeking talks with U.S. officials. Additionally, Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said it will begin negotiations with the U.S. State Department.
Trump’s tweet also urged the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates so countries “no longer take advantage of our strong dollar. Lower Rates & Loosen - Fed!”
Trump has repeatedly urged the U.S. central bank to lower rates to below zero, but Fed policymakers have been reluctant. Fed policy makers hold their next meeting on Dec 10-11.