The U.S. decision to end its preferential trade agreement with Turkey contradicts their $75-billion bilateral trade target, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Friday, but welcomed Washington’s move to halve tariffs on steel imports, ONA reports citing Reuters.
The White House said on Thursday it was terminating Turkey’s eligibility for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, given its level of economic development. It also halved tariffs on Turkish steel imports to 25%.
“Lowering the tariffs to 25% from 50% is positive, but we expect the lifting of all obstacles to bilateral trade,” Pekcan wrote on Twitter, saying they affected U.S. companies too. She said she work would continue to boost the trade volume.
The United States imported $1.66 billion in 2017 from Turkey under the GSP, or 17.7 percent of total imports from Turkey, the U.S. Trade Representative website said. Imports include vehicles and vehicle parts, jewelry and precious metals.
The United States had begun reviewing the NATO ally’s status in the program last August when the two countries were embroiled in a diplomatic row. Ankara had been hopeful that Washington would not go ahead with the move, saying it ran contrary to the two countries’ trade goals.
During last year’s spat, President Donald Trump imposed higher steel tariffs to put pressure on Turkey to release an American pastor detained on terrorism charges.
The pastor was released last October, but the friction in part sparked a currency crisis that tipped Turkey’s economy into recession last year.