Donald Trump said on Monday that the US will immediately implement tariffs on steel and aluminium imported from Brazil and Argentina. The US president accused both countries of manipulating their currencies to make their exports cheaper, damaging American farmers who struggle to compete.
He tweeted: “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.”
Brazil and Argentina had been on a list of countries exempted from tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imposed by the Trump administration in March 2018.
He claimed the US had taken “massive amounts of money” from those tariffs, which he also credited for a rising stock market. But economists have blamed rising protectionism in part for slowing global growth.
Mr Trump again called on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, a move that would likely boost US exporters and potentially hand the president a boost in his bid for re-election next November.
“The Federal Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar by further devaluing their currencies,” Mr Trump wrote.
“This makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods. Lower Rates & Loosen – Fed!”
Mr Trump has previously criticised central bankers in Europe and Japan for lowering interest rates below zero, an unconventional monetary policy designed to boost flagging economies.
His latest trade tweets were interspersed with attacks on US Democrats for the impeachment proceedings they have brought against him.
Democrats are hoping to win the support of enough Republicans to remove Mr Trump from office for his dealings in Ukraine. While the majority of Republicans in office have continued to support the president, signs have emerged that some are reconsidering their backing of him.
A former Republican congressman said on Thursday that he would “probably vote to impeach” Donald Trump if he were still serving in the US House of Representatives while suggesting the president’s scandals are “infuriating” current GOP House members.
Charlie Dent, a frequent critic of Mr Trump who resigned from Congress last year, said he has heard from several of his former Republican colleagues who are “absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behaviour”.
“There’s no question, having spoken to many of them privately, they’re absolutely disgusted and exhausted by the president’s behaviour,” Mr Dent said in an interview with CNN on Thursday. “They resent being put in this position all the time.”