April 12, 2018 / 10:36 PM / 6 days ago

U.S. eyes import quotas in Brazil steel tariff talks: sources

LIMA (Reuters) - The U.S. government has proposed a quota for tariff-free imports of Brazilian steel, two Brazilian officials who participated in a U.S.-Brazil meeting told Reuters on Thursday, offering to soften trade barriers after tough talk last month.

The quotas would be calculated based on the current amount of steel exports to the United States, the sources said, asking for anonymity because the matter is not yet public.

The U.S. proposal is the latest step in Brazil’s efforts to negotiate its way out of newly introduced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States, part of a protectionist push by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The U.S. government agreed to exempt Brazil from the tariffs until at least the end of this month as negotiations advance.

U.S. Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross and Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes discussed the matter on Thursday during the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, the sources said.

A director at an industry group told Reuters in March that U.S. negotiators had asked Brazil to review ethanol import quotas as preconditions for a deal.

Yet one of the sources said conversations between the United States and Brazil have remained focused to issues related to steel and aluminum.

Representatives for the Brazilian and U.S. governments did not respond to requests for comments.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu, writing by Bruno Federowski; editing by Diane Craft

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