Proposed US steel imports tax could affect Turkey

Proposed US steel imports tax could affect Turkey

Uğur Gürses - ISTANBUL
Proposed US steel imports tax could affect Turkey

The U.S. Department of Commerce is considering imposing customs taxes or quotas for steel and aluminum imports.

The department’s primary recommendation is imposing a 24-percent tariff on steel imports. The second alternative is a tariff of 53 percent for 12 steel producing countries, including Turkey.

It was widely argued that Trump would engage in a trade war once he came to power. The first signs of this came last year in April. According to the trade act section 232, the U.S. is able to impose tariffs and curb imports on the grounds of national security. This act was used in 1981.

While using the act was considered “a piece of empty rhetoric,” over the past month the U.S. has imposed duties of 35 percent on solar panels imported from China.

The issue is getting increasingly serious as the U.S. considers tariffs and quotas for steel and aluminum imports.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has submitted its recommendations to Trump, arguing that importing those products “weakens national security.”

The Department of Commerce’s proposals include a 24-percent tariff for steel and 7.7 percent for all aluminum products from all countries.

Trump is expected to make a decision on tariffs and curbs in mid-April.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross said other alternatives would also be presented to Trump.

One of those alternatives proposes a tariff of 53 percent on steel imports from 12 countries, including Turkey.

Another involves imposing quotas based on 63 percent of each country’s 2017 steel exports.

Turkey’s exports to US

Last year, the U.S. last year imported 34.4 million tons of steel, valued at roughly $29 billion. In terms of volume and value, U.S. imports increased by 15 percent and 30 percent compared to the previous year, respectively.

Last year, Turkey exported $1.1 billion worth of steel to the U.S, capturing a 5.7 percent share in the U.S’s total imports. This made Turkey the sixth largest seller of steel to the U.S.

However, Turkey’s share in the U.S’s total imports declined by 1.6 points from a year ago.

According to U.S. data, Turkey accounted for the second largest share of the U.S.’s long steel imports.

For some time the U.S. has been using anti-dumping investigations as part of its foreign policy. These investigations may now turn into outright tariffs and quotas.

Anti-dumping investigations aim to determine whether imported goods are being sold at below the price in the producer country.