Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has said that he will immediately restore tariffs on all imports of steel and aluminium from Brazil and Argentina.
"Brazil and Argentina have been presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies, which is not good for our farmers," Efe news quoted the US President as saying in a tweet on Monday.
"Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all steel & aluminium that is shipped into the US from those countries," he added.
In May 2018, the Argentine government announced that it would put limits on its aluminium and steel exports to the US in order to avoid the tariffs announced by Trump.
A few days later, the Brazilian government accepted an agreement with the US on quotas, under which it accepted a 10-per cent tariff on aluminium and limits on its steel sales.
The US President demanded the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates.
"The Federal Reserve should likewise act so that countries, of which there are many, no longer take advantage of our strong dollar by further devaluing their currencies," he said.
Monetary manipulation, according to Trump, "makes it very hard for our manufactures & farmers to fairly export their goods."
"Lower Rates & Loosen - Fed!" the US President added.
"US Markets are up as much as 21 per cent since the announcement of Tariffs on 3/1/2018," the US President said in another tweet, "and the US is taking in massive amounts of money (and giving some to our farmers, who have been targeted by China)!"
The currencies of Chile, Colombia and Brazil hit historic lows against the dollar last week due to political instability, pending reforms, popular demands for social equality and growing uncertainty due to a trade war with no truce in sight.
In Argentina, despite last year's incessant devaluation, the dollar remained stable.
After three consecutive cutbacks, model interest rates in the US are currently between 1.5 and 1.75 per cent, while the Fed generally believes that further adjustments are unnecessary.
Last week in its report known as the "Beige Book," the Fed indicated that the US economy maintained a "modest" growth between October and mid-November, and presents a generally "positive" perspective of inflation under control as the year ends.
For its part, the US Commerce Department reported last Friday that the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent between July and September, two-tenths more than was estimated a month ago, and a tenth more than the 2 per cent growth in the previous quarter.
Private economists are more optimistic with regard to the progress of the US economy than in past months, above all in light of the outlook that the Trump government will reach an accord with China that puts an end to the trade war with that economic giant.
Optimism about a swift agreement that will eliminate the tariffs imposed by the two trade partners has led to stock market records being broken.
In September, Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said during a visit to Washington that his government and the US would soon reach a free trade agreement but gave no specific date when that would happen.
The Brazilian official said the governments of Trump and Jair Bolsonaro were negotiating "in generic terms" and that the goal was to determine quotas for the exchange of specific goods, such as meat and steel, so that later a deal can be reached that eliminates or substantially lowers tariffs.
According to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), trade in goods and services between the US and Brazil added up to $103 billion in 2018.
By Nirbhay Kumar
New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms have topped the list of customers complaints list for over-charging ever since the new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017.
Restaurateurs came second, followed by entertainment and media firms.
As per official data, as many as 42 consumer complaints were registered against various FMCG companies with many of them found to be not passing the benefits of lower tax rates.
As GST rates were cut across various categories in the GST Council meetings to reduce tax incidence on consumers, the companies were expected to pass on the benefit by lowering prices in proportion to the rate reduction.
It was, however, found that many companies had not passed on the benefit of lower tax and indulged in profiteering. Complaints were later filed against them and the GST anti-profiteering watchdog National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) took up the cases.
Some of the FMCG majors like Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Procter & Gamble India (P&G) and Nestle were found to have profiteered from the lower tax regime.
In the latest case, the NAA last week ordered Nestle to deposit Rs 73.15 crore with Consumer Welfare Fund for not passing GST rate reduction benefit to consumers. The FMCG major has, however, said that it will consider appropriate action after studying the same.
Experts said that it is very difficult for FMCG companies to assess the exact impact of the lower tax given that they have multiple similar products in one category.
Moreover, they sell products for as low as Rs 2 for a shampoo pouch and when the rate is lowered they are not in the position to exactly assess the impact on price. Even if the assessment is done and it is found that the price should be lower by 30 paise, transaction becomes difficult as currency of that amount is not available.
"Because of multiple products of similar kind it is difficult for FMCG companies to arrive at a particular price. There are very small units like toffee selling for Re 1. In this case it will be very difficult to arrive at net impact of rate cut," said Amit Bhagat, Partner, Dhruva Advisors.
Besides FMCG, many restaurants are also facing complaints with 14 cases being lodged. Two complaints were filed against sanitary ware firms. Media and entertainment firms have six complaints against them.
(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)