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20 Dec, 2018 10:19

Turkey wins WTO dispute against US steel tariffs

Turkey wins WTO dispute against US steel tariffs

Ankara has won its first appeal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against additional US tariffs imposed on steel imports, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said. The complaint with was initiated by Turkey in August.

The trade dispute between the two countries has been deepening since March, when US President Donald Trump initially introduced the 10- and 25-percent duties on imports of aluminum and steel, respectively, from America’s trade partners, including Turkey. Ankara has called the tariffs unacceptable and pledged to take retaliatory measures.

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The US had imposed the countervailing tariffs on the grounds that steel products from Turkey were subsidized, according to Pekcan.

“We previously won a similar appeal against Morocco. We have a professional team, we will continue to do a great job,” the minister said, as cited by Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkey says the measures are inconsistent with a number of provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994. It retaliated with increased tariffs on several US-origin products, including alcohol, tobacco products, and cars. Ankara also doubled additional duty on 22 US products, totaling $533 million.

READ MORE: ‘Tariffs are the greatest!’ Trump tweets tough ahead of trade negotiations with EU

The US was the top destination for Turkish steel exports in 2017. Iron, steel and aluminum exports to the United States amounted to more than $1 billion last year, which is 0.7 percent of total exports, the ministry said.

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Turkey was America’s sixth-biggest steel importer, with the share of Turkish steel accounting for seven percent of total US steel imports.

The country’s steel exports soared by 35.2 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2018, reaching $12.4 billion, the Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association (CIB) said.

Ankara is not the first to file a WTO complaint over US trade practices. The European Union, Canada, China, and Russia have also challenged the country’s import tariffs.

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