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US calls on Brazil to reconsider proposed tariff increases in Brazil and Mercosur

Friday, September 21st 2012 - 06:48 UTC
Full article 14 comments
Ron Kirk sent a letter to Minister Patriota in “strong and clear terms” Ron Kirk sent a letter to Minister Patriota in “strong and clear terms”

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk urged the Brazilian government in a letter sent on Wednesday to reconsider plans for “protectionist” tariff increases expected to hurt US exports.

“I am writing to state in strong and clear terms the United States' concern about scheduled and proposed tariff increases in Brazil and Mercosur,” Kirk said in the letter to Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota.

Brazil triggered international concerns over growing protectionism when it announced plans to raise import tariffs on 100 foreign products. This is the latest step by President Dilma Rousseff to fend off competition from foreign producers, which has hit local industries and Brazil's economy.

The temporary increase in levies, initially for a year, would apply to products ranging from glass to iron pipes and bus tires. The rate will reach 25% for most of those products, an increase from the low teens.

“We live in a time when the world market is shrinking and exporters flood Brazil, which is one of the few growing markets, and our industry is being harmed by this,” Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters this month.

Kirk said the US expects scheduled tariff increases around Sept. 25, and possibly more increases in October, to “significantly hit US exports to Brazil in key areas of export interest to the United States.”

“Further, these two sets of tariff increases follow earlier increases that have been implemented during the course of the past year ... Brazil's tariff increases will significantly restrict trade from current levels and clearly represent protectionist measures,” Kirk said.

“The overall effect is that an ever broader range of industrial goods faces deteriorating market conditions in Brazil's market,” Kirk said.

A spokesman for Brazil's foreign ministry said the criticisms were “baseless” and the letter was “unjustifiable.”

“This format is not consistent with the relationship we have with the United States,” ministry spokesman Tovar Nunes said in a telephone interview. He added that Brazil would likely have a formal response ready by Friday.

Kirk also expressed concern that Brazil's trading partners could respond by increasing their own tariffs, which “would amplify the negative impact” of Brazil's actions.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • DanyBerger

    Oh! poor captain Kirk again dealing with a strange alien culture...

    Can he brings America Enterprise back to growth again?

    Sep 21st, 2012 - 10:06 am 0
  • v for victory

    Dany Berger


    Sep 21st, 2012 - 10:31 am 0
  • briton

    Kirk said,
    It was a no win scenario,

    So I changed the rules to suit me,

    And thus made it a win, win , scenario for him [America]

    Sep 21st, 2012 - 11:13 am 0
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