WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration took new steps to curb steel imports from Brazil and Mexico on Monday, boosting protections for battered U.S. steelmakers and jobs in the election battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it was reducing Brazil’s remaining 2020 quota for semi-finished steel imports into the United States to 60,000 metric tons from 350,000 tons “in light of recent deterioration in market conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic affecting domestic steel producers.”
Brazil agreed to the quotas in 2018 in exchange for an exemption from Trump’s 25% “Section 232” national security tariffs on steel imports.
USTR said it will maintain existing quotas for other Brazilian-made steel products and will consult with Brazil about the country’s 2021 quota for semi-finished steel in December, “by which time we hope market conditions will have improved.”
Mexico also agreed in consultations with USTR to establish a strict monitoring regime to address surges in steel pipe, mechanical steel tubing and semi-finished steel exports to the United States.
USTR gave no details on how the monitoring regime would work, but said the arrangement will also maintain Mexico’s exemption from Section 232 steel duties.
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