WASHINGTON - Just before heading overseas, President Donald Trump said Monday he is hitting Brazil and Argentina with steel and aluminum tariffs, and took another poke at the U.S. Federal Reserve in the process.
In an early morning set of tweets, Trump said he is restoring steel and aluminum tariffs because both Brazil and Argentina "have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies," and that "is not good for our farmers."
The U.S. Fed, meanwhile, should lower interest rates "so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar by further devaluing their currencies," Trump said. "This makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods. Lower Rates & Loosen - Fed!"
The president sent the tariff tweets around 6 a.m., less than four hours before departing for a NATO summit in London.
Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies. which is not good for our farmers. Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries. The Federal....
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2019
Economists have criticized Trump over a series of tariffs imposed on a variety of countries, saying those targets simply pass the costs onto consumers. Other countries, including China, have retaliated with their own tariffs on U.S. goods, creating Trump-era trade wars.
In the spring of 2018, Trump imposed 25% tariffs on all imported steel and 10% tariffs on all aluminum imports, claiming national security concerns - but Brazil and Argentina were granted exemptions.
Trump has long urged the Fed to lower interest rates, and did so in a face-to-face meeting last month with Fed Chairman Jay Powell.
Powell and other Fed officials have said rates have been cut as much as possible in order to keep the economy stable.
After last month's White House meeting, the Fed said in a statement that Powell "did not discuss his expectations for monetary policy, except to stress that the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming information that bears on the outlook for the economy."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump tweets he's imposing tariffs on Brazil and Argentina