Trump again raises Turkey’s steel import tariff to 50%

US President Donald Trump on Monday said he will double the Section 232 tariffs on Turkish steel from 25% to 50% as a result of the country’s military actions in Northeast Syria.

In a statement posted to Twitter Monday afternoon, Trump said he would soon be issuing an executive order increasing the steel tariffs and authorizing the imposition of sanctions against Turkey.

Trump previously raised Turkey’s steel tariff rate from 25% to 50% in August 2018 due to the devaluation of the Turkish lira and increased political tension between the countries due to the detention of US Pastor Brunson. Turkey’s tariff rate on steel was later dropped back to 25% in May 2019.

S&P Global Platts sent emails for comment to Turkish steel industry sources but could get only one comment, as President Trump’s tweet came near midnight in Turkey. “They have been playing cat and mouse with Turkey,” said the source.

The US government’s decision in mid-May to reduce the Section 232 tariff on Turkish steel back to 25% from 50%, has so far failed to meet Turkish producers’ expectations of a notable rise in export volumes, as Turkish mills’ steel offer prices remain uncompetitive in the US market, amid the decline seen in domestic prices in that country.

Turkish mills’ rebar shipments to the US fell to 38,300 mt in the first eight months of 2019, sharply lower than 304,300 mt exported in the same period of 2018, while mills’ HRC exports to that country declined to just 11,800 mt in the eight-month period, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute data.

Under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, the US president is able to adjust the tariff level set for any country at any time he sees fit.

— Justine Coyne and Cenk Can