“We find the tax on steel imports to be unjust”
06.02.2019 / Ankara- Speaking at the business dinner held with the participation of Trade Minister Pekcan and US business representatives, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu emphasized that the duties imposed on imports of steel from Turkey by the US administration does not conform to the spirit of alliance between the two countries and affects the iron and steel exports negatively.
Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan, the US Chamber of Commerce Middle East and Turkey Department Senior Vice President Khush Choksy and Turkish and American business representatives convened at the business dinner hosted by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu.
TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu said in his speech that Turkey and the US are mutually important for each other and that for nearly 70 years, under the umbrella of NATO, they have jointly taken responsibilities and have fought together against international security issues.
TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the reemergence of trade wars as a concept is troubling for the business world and touched on the structure of trade between Turkey and the United States. Reporting that between 2010-2017, an imbalance of 55 billion USD has been observed in bilateral trade between the US and Turkey, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Despite this, the US government has imposed a 25% duty tax on imports of steel from Turkey, followed by another 25%. We find this to be unjust and it does not conform to the spirit of alliance between the two countries. This decision has had an extremely negative impact on Turkey's exports of iron and steel products to the US in 2018. Turkey's exemption from this policy will contribute to both bilateral trade and relations.”
Hisarcıklıoğlu, emphasizing the importance of the GSP in Turkey’s exports to the United States, with 20% exports taking place under it, expressed his hopes that the review process of the GSP would result without damage to relations.
Also touching on the matter of a free trade agreement between Turkey and the US, Hisarcıklıoğlu urged support from the US business community on these matters, “Let’s stand up for our bilateral trade and investment relations. Let’s maintain our position as a bridge between our countries.”
- Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan
In her speech, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan emphasized that political relations between the two countries experience certain fluctuations at times, but the goal is still the shared vision and joint business potential of the Turkish and American business worlds.
Emphasizing that they are excited and optimistic about the development of the current economic relations with the United States, Minister Pekcan said, “In talks, President Trump and President Erdoğan have come to an agreement in regards to increasing our trade volume to 75 billion USD. Today, our trade volume stands at 20 billion USD. We have a long way ahead of us which must be covered quickly. We're going to move forward together. Looking at trade and investment relations between the United States and Turkey, we see that there is a long road ahead. We are pleased that over 1800 American companies doing business in Turkey with a combined investment volume of 11.7 billion USD have put their trust in and are supporting Turkey.”
- US-Turkey Business Council President MacLennan
The US-Turkey Business Council Chairman David MacLennan emphasized that Turkey and the United States have a long history of trade, “This is a tradition founded on prosperity for its citizens and companies, and dependent on increasing investment and job opportunities.”
MacLennan stated that the business world plays a catalysing role in development and economic growth, “For example, companies working in the agricultural sector are investing in rural areas. Agriculture is an important way to get rid of poverty in many developing countries. We can also reverse the tendency of urbanization to increase agricultural production. Therefore, it is really necessary to support deep and strong economic relations between the two countries and to always remind each other and our stakeholders of the importance of this relationship.”
- Khush Choksy of the US Chamber of Commerce
US Chamber of Commerce Middle East and Turkey Department Senior Vice President Khush Choksy also stated that they iterate the views of Turkish companies in Washington D.C. in periods of tense Turkey-US relations as the US Chamber (regarding the tax issues for iron and steel).” Stating that TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu demonstrates Turkey's point of view and that American companies also show attention to issues in Turkey, Choksy, stressed the contributions of Hisarcıklıoğlu to trade relations.
- Memorandum of Understanding renewed
After the speeches, the 2019 Action Plan Memorandum of Understanding was signed in by TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu and US Chamber of Commerce Middle East and Turkey Department Senior Vice President Choksy with the Minister of Trade Ruhsar Pekcan acting as witness.