Brazil President Michel Temer has said he is likely to call his US counterpart Donald Trump over his decision to impose stiff tariffs on steel and aluminium. "The steel issue is indeed alarming," Temer said on Wednesday during the opening of the World Economic Forum for Latin America in Sao Paulo, Xinhua news agency reported. Trump recently announced a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminium, sparking protests from his country's main trade partners, including Mexico, Canada and Brazil. "Clearly we should address this topic very cautiously," said Temer, adding: "I realised that President Trump would appreciate communication from the countries implied." Brazil would prefer an amicable resolution to the issue, but could ultimately appeal the decision at the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Temer. Initially, Brazilian companies that export steel to the US should work "in cooperation with the US Congress to remove or reduce the tariffs," he said. "If we don't come to a solution that's friendly and quick. we'll resort to the World Trade Organization, but not unilaterally, not just Brazil, but all of the countries that face losses stemming from the implementation of this measure," said Temer. Brazil's Foreign Affairs Minister Aloysio Nunes, who was also at the opening ceremony, told reporters he has already requested a meeting with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to discuss exemptions for most Brazilian exports. "Protectionism is a regression. We are going to defend ourselves in keeping with the rules of international trade," said Nunes. Should Brazil have to respond to the tariffs, it will take measures "provided for in our legislation and in the international agreements signed with the United States," Nunes added. Brazil is the second-largest exporter of steel to the US, after Canada, and the leading supplier of semi-finished steel of the United States. In 2017, Brazilian industry sold $2.6 billion worth of steel to the US, or 4.7 million tonnes of the metal, according to official figures.