Turkey formally demands exemption from US tariffs

Turkey formally demands exemption from US tariffs

Turkey formally demands exemption from US tariffs

Turkey expects a positive response to its letter requesting an exemption from new U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum next week, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said.

“We immediately got into contact [with U.S. counterparts] about the decision against Turkey. Our communications via letters, phone calls and contacts through our embassy in the U.S. have been continuing. We will come closer to positive or negative conclusions next week,” he said in Ankara on April 5.

Zeybekci sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to convey Ankara’s demand, a Turkish official told Reuters on April 5.

“Firstly, the U.S. does not have a trade deficit with Turkey. Their annual imports from Turkey are worth $8.5 whereas their exports to us are worth $12 billion. Secondly, specifically in the iron and steel industry we export materials worth $1.2 billion and import materials worth $1.3 billion. It is we who have a trade deficit,” he told reporters in Ankara.

Zeybekci also noted that Turkey is among the NATO countries with high defense expenditure, referring to Trump’s call on allies to increase their military budgets.

If the response from the U.S. is negative then it would be “natural” for Turkey to retaliate by imposing tariffs on U.S. goods, he added.

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum on March 8 however he exempted Canada and Mexico and also offered the possibility of excluding other allies. The tariffs are not put into effect for imports from European Union countries until May 1.

Turkey plans to impose tariffs on imports of cotton from the U.S. in response to Washington’s bid to impose hefty tariffs on foreign steel products, Cemil Ertem, chief economic adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, wrote in an article on March 6.

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

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