Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, pictured with Donald Trump at the White House last March, said Monday he would call Trump about his tariff tweet and was "almost certain" the USA president would listen. But the biggest deal at the center of the trade war, a US-China trade agreement, has yet to be signed.
"If needed, I can also talk to Trump, I have an open channel with him", he added as he left the presidential palace.
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.
He has also urged the US Central Bank to cut interest rates to weaken the dollar. As such, it signifies a potential new phase in his trade wars in which foreign-exchange markets are the battleground. The South American nation's steel accounts for about 3.5% of the 110 million tons consumed in the US a year. Trump falsely claims China is paying the USA billions and billions of dollars in tariffs.
Steel and iron products are the second biggest Brazil export to the USA, tracking only crude oil and totalling US$2.25 billion between January and October, according to Brazilian government data.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa equities index was up 0.9 percent.
AK Steel Holding Corp. rose 3.3% at 9:38 a.m.in NY. The company runs plants in the U.S.
Both Brazil and Argentina were exempted from 25% steel and aluminum tariffs past year when Trump was attempting to avoid a trade war with those countries.
Representatives for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative could not be immediately reached for comment. The move allowed buyers to request exemptions for imports from key suppliers.