First Published: 2018-03-06

Turkey threatens tit-for-tat action on US tariffs
Turkish President’s adviser warns Ankara could retaliate against potential US steel tariffs with duties on cotton.
Middle East Online

The war of protectionism begins

ISTANBUL - Turkey could retaliate against potential US steel tariffs by hiking duties on imports of American cotton, one of President Tayyip Erdogan's economic advisers said on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump said last week he would impose broad tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium to protect American national security, sparking concern from US trade partners and causing turmoil in global stock markets.

"Starting with Turkey, countries affected by the US tax imposition are preparing to answer the US in alternative goods - such as Turkey in cotton," Cemil Ertem, a prominent Erdogan adviser, wrote in the Milliyet newspaper.

He did not say how much of a tariff was being considered.

The Economy Ministry said it had spoken to European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malstrom regarding the issue and that they had agreed to cooperate on it in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Turkey, home to a major textile industry and companies that supply global fashion brands such as Zara, Adidas and Nike, imported $519 million worth of US cotton in 2016, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute.

US cotton accounted for 42 percent of its total imports that year, the biggest share of any country, the data showed.

Turkey is the world's eighth-largest steel producer and the sixth-largest exporter to the United States. The reaction so far from Turkish steelmakers to Trump's proposal has been relatively sanguine, with one saying it could ramp up its US business in response.

An industry association has said Turkish steel producers could still remain competitive thanks to lower costs.

Trump's proposal has also spurred talk of retaliatory duties from Europe, where officials have threatened counter-measures on Harley-Davidson Inc motorbikes, bourbon and jeans.

The US president has also faced growing domestic pressure from political and diplomatic allies as well as American companies urging him to pull back from the proposed tariffs, although he has said he will not back down.


Saudi to carry out nuclear power deal with or without US

Egyptians prepare to vote with Sisi reelection guaranteed

Israel ministers welcome US appointment of 'friend' Bolton

Iran slams US sanctions over hacking scheme

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Policeman dead in bombing in Alexandria

Syria rebels prepare to quit penultimate pocket of Ghouta

Syrians in Manbij fear Turkey, bet on US

Mother Courage: Iraqi widow who saved recruits from slaughter

Quick victory unlikely in Egypt assault on IS

Sisi, Egypt's undisputed leader and 'father figure'

PKK to quit northwest Iraq after Turkish threat

Iraqi asylum seeker gets life sentence for London bombing

UK says Israeli sentencing of Palestinian teenage girl "emblematic"

Sarkozy vows to clear name in Libya probe

Syria announces second evacuation deal for rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

Three dead after suspected IS gunman takes hostages in France

170,000 flee violence in Syria's Afrin

Norway proposes bill to ban full-face veils in education

Turkey says EU statements on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

Air strikes hit Ghouta despite rebel ceasefire effort

US approves $1 billion in Saudi defence contracts

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007