Trump Drops Threat to Levy Tariffs on Brazilian Steel and Aluminum

Trump Drops Threat to Levy Tariffs on Brazilian Steel and Aluminum

Move comes after Trump and Brazilian President Bolsonaro spoke Friday

WASHINGTON—President Trump dropped a threat to levy tariffs on Brazilian steel and aluminum after the two leaders spoke Friday.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said during a Facebook live video that he persuaded Mr. Trump to forgo imposing the tariffs. A U.S. official familiar with the call confirmed that Mr. Trump told his Brazilian counterpart that he wouldn’t levy the tariffs.

Mr. Trump caught financial markets by surprise and appeared to open a new front in his trade fights when he threatened tariffs on Brazil and Argentina in a tweet on Dec. 2. Mr. Trump, in a tweet, accused the two countries of devaluing their currencies and hurting U.S. farmers.

A week after the tweet, Lawrence Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council, cast doubt on Mr. Trump’s tweet.  “No decisions have been made,” he said of tariffs against Brazil and Argentina in remarks during the The Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting.

The U.S. announced global tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum in early 2018. Before those levies took effect, Argentina and Brazil hammered out deals to obtain exemptions, agreeing instead to duty-free quotas. Other economies, including the European Union and China, were subjected to the U.S. duties.