Brazil fears devastating impact of U.S. steel tariffs on its economy

Global Business

Brazil fears devastating impact of U.S. steel tariffs on its economy

Brazil, the second biggest exporter of steel to the U.S. is fearing a devastating impact from steel tariffs. CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco, in Rio, has more.

U.S. plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum was suspended until the end of April, but then came back in the form of an ultimatum: quotas or tariffs. Brazil’s Trade Union Representative Joao Carlos Goncalves says, nearly 100,000 jobs could be at risk, “not only in the steel steel industry, but spread out across the entire production chain.”

For now, Brazil’s steel industry opted, in principal, to accept quotas because of its large volume of exports. The aluminum industry, a smaller exporter, has accepted the tariffs.

“The imposition of a tariff would harm our industry, would lead our industry to decrease our exports to the U.S. and would also lead our coal imports from the U.S. to decrease as well. So I don’t see which side is taking more advantage of all that.” said Ambassador Luis Augusto Castro Neves from the Brazil China Business Council

For Li Yang, Chinese General Consul to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will be an important strategic ally in a response to the United States. “There is a new factor. This is a war imposed by President Trump. Against this new backdrop we should move more rapidly closer and closer towards each other.”

Brazil’s metal industry is worried that exports could be reduced by between 20 and 60 percent. Last year alone, Brazil sold 4.7 million tons of steel to the U.S.

While President Michel Temer has been cautious in his response to the new U.S. tariffs, he has not discarded taking the issue to the World Trade Organization.