Neşe Karanfil ANKARA
Minister Nihat Zeybekci says Turkey notified the WTO it had initiated a safeguard probe into the ‘transmission incorporating the reception of mobile telephones.’ DHA Photo
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said Turkey imports almost everything, even traditional Turkish carpets, while noting the steps the ministry has taken to safeguard domestic industry.
“Even traditional Turkish carpets are made in China. If we import even sickles used in agricultural production, we are over the line...We need to reverse this trend,” he said.
Zeybekci said Turkey notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) it had initiated a safeguard investigation into the “transmission apparatus incorporating the reception apparatus of mobile telephones and tablets.”
“We are also about to complete similar work in the electronics sector. I believe we will complete it in the next 3-4 months,” he said.
The investigation was initiated after the evidence and information gathered during the evaluation of a safeguard petition from the domestic industry.
A safeguard investigation seeks to determine whether increased imports of a product are causing, or is threatening to cause, serious injury to a domestic industry. During a safeguard investigation, importers, exporters and other interested parties may present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties. A WTO member may take a safeguard action and restrict imports of a product temporarily only if the increased imports of the product are found to be causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury to the industry.
“If the WTO decides on our behalf, we will present the decision to the cabinet. Then we can put an additional tax on mobile phones imported from China, for example,” he said.
Turkey imported some $220 billion worth of goods in the first 11 months of 2014. The import of electronics surged to $16.2 billion in 2014, up 0.8 percent from the same period in 2013. Around 8.6 million smart phones worth $9.2 billion were imported in the first nine months of 2014. The figure was around $7.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2013, from the sale of 9 million units.
The first signals of taxing luxurious goods appeared last October. In the Medium-Term Economic Program, the government said additional taxes on luxury goods may be introduced in the near future in order to increase public revenue and decrease savings.
The economy ministry then began a probe into over-subsidized imported goods. The ministry examined the difference between the sale price of mobile phones and computers and their manufacturing costs.