WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday accused Argentina and Brazil of hurting American farmers through currency manipulation and said he’ll slap tariffs on their steel and aluminum imports to retaliate.
Trump also called on America’s central bank to take action to prevent other countries from devaluing their currencies.
Both South American nations were among a group of U.S. allies that Trump had exempted from steel and aluminum tariffs in March 2018.
Hours before he was set to depart Monday for a NATO conference in London, Trump tweeted that “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.”
Argentina is mired in an economic crisis with rampant inflation, deep indebtedness, widespread poverty and a currency that has plunged under the leadership of President Mauricio Macri, who came to power in 2015 with promises to boost South America’s second-largest economy. Macri was defeated in elections in October and will leave office next week.
Brazil is grappling with stubborn double-digit unemployment, and its economy is headed toward its third straight year of roughly 1% growth, following two years of deep recession.
Trump said the U.S. 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.” Trump said such devaluation “makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods.