This Morning in Metals: Iron Ore Buyers Could Look to Australia After Vale Disaster

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This morning in metals news, buyers are turning to Australia after a dam breach at one of Vale’s Brazilian iron ore operations, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the Trump administration should lift its Section 232 tariffs before the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is ratified and U.S.-China trade talks are set to resume this week.

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Iron Ore Supply

Following a dam breach at Brazilian miner Vale S.A.’s Corrego do Feijao mine — which left at least 60 dead and hundreds missing — buyers are looking elsewhere to meet some of the lost supply.

According to Reuters, buyers could look to Australia for their supply, which could knock Vale off from its position as the top seaborne iron ore supplier.

Grassley: Administration Must Lift Section 232 Tariffs Before Congress Ratifies USMCA

The Iowa senator, in a statement co-authored with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, wrote in a statement Wednesday that the Trump administration should lift its steel and aluminum tariffs vis-a-vis Canada and Mexico before Congress ratifies the trilateral trade deal.

“Unfortunately, our producers are unlikely to realize the market access promises of USMCA while the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico remain. Because of these tariffs, Mexico and Canada have imposed retaliatory tariffs on American exports,” the statement said. “Mexico has hit our pork exports with a 20 percent tariff. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, this is costing our pork producers $12 per animal, meaning industrywide losses of $1.5 billion annually. Paired with Chinese retaliatory tariffs on pork, soybeans, corn and wheat, our farmers need relief fast.

“Before Congress considers legislation to implement USMCA, the Administration should lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from our top two trading partners and secure the elimination of retaliatory tariffs that stand to wipe out gains our farmers have made over the past two and a half decades. As one of Iowa’s U.S. senators and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which is tasked with leading the implementation of USMCA in the Senate, and as the secretary of agriculture for one of the largest pork, dairy, poultry, soybean, corn and cattle-exporting states in the nation, we’ll be working all hands on deck to get the job done. But we need the Administration to help us pave the way.”

U.S.-China Trade Talks Continue

The U.S. and China are set to resume trade talks this week with a visit to Washington, D.C. scheduled from China’s Vice Premier Liu He, Reuters reported.

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According to the report, President Donald Trump will meet with Liu on Thursday.

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