President Trump said on Monday that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina, widening a global trade war and hitting an ally, Brazil’s conservative president.
Mr. Trump, in a message on Twitter, said what he called currency manipulation by Brazil and Argentina was hurting American farmers. “Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries.”
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. The Federal….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
The Trump administration never imposed tariffs on Brazilian and Argentine metals, though it did force them to limit shipments to the United States under a quota system last year. The United States initially exempted Brazil and Argentina from the president’s sweeping metal tariffs in 2018, with the United States saying it would continue negotiations with those countries on a trade deal.
It is unclear what prompted Mr. Trump’s message. But last week the Brazilian currency, the real, fell to a record low against the dollar after the country’s economic minister signaled that he was not concerned about exchange-rate fluctuations.
Argentina’s peso has weakened with the country in the midst of an economic crisis.
The surprise announcement on Monday was the latest escalation in the biggest global trade conflict in decades. Mr. Trump has also threatened new