Turkey launches probe of US cotton imports

Turkey launches probe of US cotton imports

NEW YORK-Reuters
Turkey has launched a probe into possible dumping of U.S. cotton in the country, the U.S. government and an industry group said, the third dispute over U.S. cotton in recent years and a sign of rising tensions in global trade as prices sink.

The investigation could hurt demand from the largest buyer of U.S. cotton and comes amid mounting tensions between the two countries after U.S. regulators decided against Turkey in an investigation into steel rebar imports earlier this month.

Turkey was the biggest importer of U.S. upland cotton last year, buying 1.1 million bales worth about $500 million.

The U.S. Ministry of the Economy announced the investigation on Oct. 18, the U.S. National Cotton Council (NCC) said in a memo published on the American Cotton Shippers Association website on Oct. 27.

The probe was also listed by the U.S. International Trade Administration’s enforcement and compliance unit.

The move was significant for several reasons. It came just four days after the U.S. regulators cleared the way for a 1.25 percent anti-subsidy duty on Turkish imports of steel rebar, which is used to reinforce concrete .

The NCC said the probe was initiated by the government, not at the request of the Turkish cotton industry, which the NCC said was “unusual.”

It also comes at a critical time for Washington-Ankara relations, which have been strained by Turkey’s reluctance to play a front-line role in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on its Syrian border.

At the start of this month, the United States and Brazil settled a decade-old World Trade Organization dispute over U.S. cotton subsidies for $300 million.