The White House issued a press release yesterday evening announcing that Argentina, as well as other countries along with the European Union, will be exempted from the tariffs on aluminum and steel that the Trump administration officially implemented today until May 1.
Moreover, it indicated that the White House is currently discussing “satisfactory alternative means to address the threatened impairment to the national security by imports of steel articles,” with each of them. Besides the EU; Australia, Brazil, and South Korea are currently also in the same position as Argentina, while Mexico and Canada have already been permanently exempted of these tariffs.
The release goes on to say that the “important security relationship with the United States” was one of the main reasons at the time of making the decision. When referring to Argentina in particular, it says that both countries also have a “shared commitment of mutual support on national security issues in Latin America, particularly the threat posed by the instability in Venezuela.”
“Our shared commitment to face the global excess of steel production capacity; reciprocal investment in our respective industrial bases and the strong economic integration between our countries,” it adds.
The decision to temporarily exempt Argentina from the tariffs took place yesterday, and was announced by the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, at a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee.
The current administration has been lobbying hard to get this concession. Immediately after the original announcement, President Mauricio Macri had called Trump to express his concerns about the impact of steel and aluminum tariffs on Argentine exports to the United States. Moreover, Trade Secretary Miguel Braun traveled to Washington last week and met with his American counterpart, Wilbur Ross, with the same goal.
The efforts continued during the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors that took place in Argentina this week, with a bilateral meeting between Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. On top of this, Production and Foreign Ministers Francisco Cabrera and Jorge Faurie sent a letter to Lighthizer yesterday night formally requesting Argentina to be exempted.
Today, at least temporarily, the government achieved that goal. Now, it will seek for the exemption to be definitive.