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Brazil dismayed at US tariffs on steel, aluminum imports

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The Brazilian government reacted Thursday "with great concern" to the US decision to place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

"These measures will cause severe damage to Brazilian exports and will have a significant negative impact on bilateral flows, which have been broadly favorable to the United States for the last 10 years," said a joint statement from the foreign ministry and the ministry of industry, foreign trade and services.

Brazil would take "all necessary actions, in the bilateral and multilateral spheres, to preserve its rights and interests," the statement said.

It added that these tariffs were incompatible with US obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday formally signed proclamations to impose a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10-percent on aluminum, which will take effect in 15 days with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico pending the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

A strong steel and aluminum industry is "vital to our national security," Trump said at the White House.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes and Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Marcos Jorge said in the statement that they had sought to avoid such measures being applied to Brazilian exports, "clarifying to the American government ... that Brazilian products do not cause any threat to the commercial or security interests to the United States."

The statement also pointed out the inter-connectivity between industries of both countries, saying that 80 percent of Brazilian steel exports are semi-finished products used as materials by the North American steel industry, and Brazil is the largest importer of carbon steel, composed of iron and carbon, from the United States.

Brazil's National Confederation of Industry estimates these tariffs will cause 3.15 billion US dollars of losses to the Brazilian industry annually.

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