Turkey issues steel reprisal threat to US
USPresident Donald Trump’s statement regarding the ban on steel imports has set Turkey in motion after the EU. The trade strife seems set to have a huge effect on Turkey, which delivers almost 14% of the United States’ annual steel imports. “The Ministry of Economy has taken action,” said Veysel Yayan, Secretary General of the Turkish Steel Producers Association (TCUD). “The United States imports serious amounts of corn, cotton and some industrial products. There is no chance that Turkey will remain silent if Europe and other countries take similar measures against the United States.”
13.6% share in steel exports to US
According to 2016 figures, Turkey exported 13.6% of the steel bought by the US. This compares to 24% from the 28 European Union countries. Underlining that the US is currently among the countries that have the strongest protection over the steel industry in the world, Yayan said: “The total of two separate taxes they apply is nearly 550%. There is no other country as sensitive as the US.” He said the Trump administration is taking additional measures. For example, the metal sheets needed for oil pipelines will be taken from the United States. “They are strict as it has to be produced from steel that is processed in the US. More- over, to prevent the importation of steel they take it as a threat to their national security and take preventive measures,” said Yayan.
Counter measures inevitable
The TCUD’s secretary general believes it is understandable that those countries doing business with the US are also trying to develop counter measures against the US’s stance. “The EU is looking at trade figures while bringing the same measures to steel products. If they are not balanced by the damage from American measures they look at other products [to use as counter measures]. The EU does not only apply this to the US, but also does it to other coun- tries and this creates a knock-on effect,” said Yayan.
Both the United States and the EU are important markets for Turkey. “We know that the Ministry of Economy is working seriously on this issue and we continue our negotiations in this area by saying that this may have a serious negative effect on Turkey,” Yayan added. “The ministry plans to take counter measures just like the EU. These measures may not be limited to steel and could include other products. We export serious amounts of corn, cotton and industrial products to the United States. So there is always the possibility of taking counter measures.”