Deputy Economy Minister Fatih Metin, who attended the 2018 Trans-Caspian Forum organized by the Caspian Policy Center (CPC) in Washington, elaborated on additional taxes the U.S. government imposed on imported steel and aluminum.
The minister highlighted that Turkey is continuing to negotiate the issue with the U.S. government.
Stressing that the U.S.' decision does not fit its position in the world economy, Metin said it is very contradictory that a country that is supposed to be the pioneer of free trade is acting with a protectionist policy.
"Unless there is a change in Turkey's favor, we will make our application to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and inform them that we will take our countermeasures. At this point we are expecting the latest assessments of the U.S.," he continued.
He stated that in bilateral relations there is already a foreign trade profile in favor of the U.S. and noted that while Turkey's free trade-related steps are obvious, the fact that they are closing themselves with such a protectionist approach is not an acceptable situation.
Metin recalled that the ministry did a study covering 18 products, and in those products, they also worked on the basis of reciprocity against the goods from the U.S.
"In the coming days we will see the developments in this regard. However, our wish is that free trade should be as liberal as possible," he said, underlining that Turkey is a bridge and the center of transit trade between the East and West.
"Turkey is a strong country and a rising star in the region. This is the truth that all participants have expressed in today's program," he noted.
He said that there are eight countries in the region called the Caspian, while Turkey's trade with these countries in the last 20 years grew from $10 billion to $300 million dollars, recording an increase of about 35 times.
Metin said that the countries in question have economic structures based on the exports of raw materials, and that an economic performance depending only on oil and natural gas is not sustainable.
On March 9, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a decision to apply customs tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on imported steel and aluminum, respectively.
The U.S. has become the world's largest steel importer with 26.9 million tons of steel imported in the January-September period last year.
Currently, about 90 percent of aluminum used in U.S. manufacturing is imported, as well as one-third of all steel.
After the tariffs were announced, industry groups said consumers would face the brunt of the tariffs due to increased prices for items ranging from beer to cars to thousands of other items built or packaged with the metals.
In 2017, Canada led the way in the country's steel imports last year with 5.8 million tons, while the share of Canadian steel in the country's steel imports was 17 percent, followed by Brazil with 14 percent, South Korea with 10 percent, Mexico with 9 percent and Russia with 8 percent.
Turkey came sixth in the country's steel imports with 6 percent last year.
Other countries that U.S. imported steel from were Japan with 5 percent, Germany with 4 percent, Taiwan with 3 percent and China with 2 percent.
According to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data, Turkey exported approximately $13.8 billion in steel and steel goods last year, while $1.2 billion, about 9 percent of exports, was made to the U.S.
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