Turkey steel exporters don’t expect big impact from US tariffs: Association

Turkey steel exporters don’t expect big impact from US tariffs: Association

ISTANBUL/ WASHINGTON
Turkey steel exporters don’t expect big impact from US tariffs: Association

Turkey’s steel exporters do not expect a significant impact from a U.S. decision to impose hefty tariffs on foreign steel, Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association (ÇİB) head Namık Ekinci said on March 2. 

Ekinci made the comment to Reuters in Istanbul a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers. 

He said that the U.S. decision was “the lesser of various evils.” 

“There were three options in front of Trump. One of them was to impose at least 53 percent duties on steel imports from 12 top steel exporters, including Turkey. The second option was to impose quotas to all exporters. The third option was to impose duties of 25 percent,” Ekinci said. 

“If the first option had been selected, Turkey’s steel exports to the U.S. would have almost stopped. Therefore, Trump’s decision is the lesser of various evils for Turkey as the move includes all countries, not only 12 countries. As all exporters will be affected on equal terms, I do not expect any big hit on our exports to the United States. Turkey will keep exporting steel to the country,” he added. 

Turkey is the eighth biggest steel producer in the world and its steel exports to the United States stood at $1.1 billion in 2017.

Turkey is the sixth largest steel exporter to the U.S., taking a 5.6 percent share in the country’s total imports. 

Trump said duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum would be formally announced next week, sparking concerns of retaliatory moves from major trade partners. 

The announcement has been met with anger across the world - even from those in his own Republican Party - with warnings it could spark a painful global trade war, sparking a sell-off on equity markets already on edge over fears of rising U.S. interest rates.

Trump’s move has faced harsh reactions from the top steel exporters, including Europe and Canada. 

Harsh reactions

Turkey may respond with retaliatory measures if the U.S. moves to curb Turkish steel imports, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi had suggested on Feb. 20.

“Such measures will hit Turkish importers, producers and exporters. If they complain about U.S. measures we will assess the situation and are more likely to take retaliatory measures,” Zeybekçi said.

Beijing has also previously warned it was ready with countermeasures should the Trump administration slap on tariffs.     

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU “will react firmly” to defend its interests.

“The Commission will bring forward in the next few days a proposal for WTO-compatible countermeasures against the U.S. to rebalance the situation,” he said in a statement, referring to the World Trade Organization.

“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” he added.

Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne responded even more bluntly, calling the tariffs “unacceptable.”
     “Any tariffs or quotas that would be imposed on our Canadian steel and aluminum industry would be unacceptable,” Champagne told parliament. 

Any such decision would have an impact on both sides of the border.”  
  He added that Canada “will defend our workers and our steel and aluminum industries.”  
  The Mexican steel industry association Canacero, called on the Mexican government to “immediately respond in a reciprocal manner,” unless the country’s producers are excluded.

Steel and aluminum producers across Asia sank on March 2 on news of Trump’s controversial tariffs, though some analysts said the long-term effects on the sector might not be as bad as thought.

Trump, Donald Trump, steel, US, industry, economy, trade, China, Namık Ekinci, Turkey, Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association