BURSA, Turkey — The chairman of the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS), John Foster, has written to President Donald Trump asking him to exempt Turkish steel from any tariffs or quotas under Section 232, the Turkish Steel Exporters’ Union (ÇIB) said on Thursday March 8.
“I have found the steel mills in [Turkey] to be privately held and often family-owned businesses that pride themselves on their cost-effectiveness and ability to compete globally, fairly and on a level playing field,” Foster wrote. “Thousands of downstream jobs [in the United States] are dependent on this competitively priced steel from Turkey, and [I] respectfully submit [that] the Turkish mills be exempted from any Section 232 tariffs or quotas.”
Section 232 allows the president to impose duties on any imports believed to pose a threat to national security.
Foster noted that he is not only the chairman of AIIS but is also “president of an independent steel trade and trade services company.” He made his request “on behalf of all the United States manufacturers that use fairly priced and high-quality steel imported from Turkey.” And he pointed out that these US companies are in “a global economy that benefits from free trade in steel with responsible countries.”
There have been suggestions that Canada and Mexico may be given exemptions from the 232 tariffs.
According to the ÇIB, the White House has said that Canada and Mexico may be granted a 30-day exemption from Section 232 tariffs to allow time for the Nafta renegotiation talks - now under way in Mexico City - to be completed.
But such exemptions would cause several new problems and would not be right, ÇIB chairman Namik Ekinci said. The US is bringing the world to the edge of a trade war, he argued.
Turkey and the European Union have decided to act together at the World Trade Organization to protest against the planned US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the Turkish Economy Ministry announced this week.
Turkey is the sixth-largest steel exporter to the US after Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Russia.
Trump is expected to sign off on the proposed tariffs for steel and aluminium imports on March 8.