Though praising the country’s executive, United States President Donald Trump did not indicate that he would back down on planned aluminium and steel tariffs against Brazilian exporters to the US.
Trump was queried by reporters late last week at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago between himself and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro by reporters regarding the possibility of staying his hand in relation to the new tariffs he’d earlier promised would be soon in coming.
In response, Trump said the United States has aided Brazil in the past, but he was not prepared to make any assurances regarding the tariffs on Brazil’s aluminium and steel he promised several weeks ago.
“Brazil loves him, and the USA loves him,” said Trump about his Brazilian counterpart Bolsonaro in a short interlude with reporters. “The friendship is probably stronger now than it’s ever been.”
Trump’s words last week did not align with comments by Bolsonaro in December. At the time, the Brazilian president said that Trump assured him that tariffs against Brazil’s aluminium and steel imports would not be enacted.
“I had a phone conversation a few moments ago with Donald Trump,” Bolsonaro revealed in the interview in December. “He was convinced by my arguments and decided to tell all Brazilians that our steel and aluminum will not be hit by additional tariffs.”
According to an unnamed top Trump administration official, the two presidents are expected to discuss Venezuela’s leadership crisis, the two countries’ economic relationship, and a possible trade agreement between the two nations. Trump and Bolsonaro were also slated to discuss forest conservation before adjourning.
Brazil and Argentina have enjoyed exemptions from the blanket 10-percent tariffs levied upon all aluminium and steel goods imported into the States that the Administration implemented early in 2018. Both countries opted for a strict duty-free import quota in place of tariffs.