US won’t double tariffs against Turkey after Syria ceasefire

As Turkey and the US reached a Syria ceasefire agreement following US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s roughly five-hour meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday, previously announced sanctions by US President Donald Trump will also be canceled, including the doubling of Section 232 steel tariffs against Turkey.

The deal is for a 120-hour ceasefire, during which time Kurdish YPG forces could pull back. All Turkish military operations will pause during that time and the operation itself will come to an end upon the completion of the withdrawal.

President Trump posted a new tweet just after the meeting Thursday saying: “Great news out of Turkey. Thank you RTErdogan. Millions of lives will be saved!”

The US on Tuesday announced sanctions against two Turkish ministries and three senior government officials over the North Syria situation. The Section 232 steel tariff increase against Turkish steel was announced by President Trump Monday via Twitter but hasn’t been officially implemented, as Platts has reported.

“Sanctions will be canceled,” Mike Pence said at a press conference following the meeting with Erdogan.

Trump previously raised Turkey’s steel tariff rate from 25% to 50% in August 2018 amid 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. However, this decision has so far failed to meet Turkish producers’ expectations of a notable rise in export volumes, despite some recovery seen in rebar export volumes in August.

After shipping only 18,486 mt to the US in the previous months of 2019, Turkish mills managed to export 19,800 mt of rebar to the US in August alone. But, this export figure was still lower than the 41,200 mt exported in the same month of 2018.

Turkish mills expected to increase their export volumes to the US gradually, but have found it hard to regain their market shares with the current 25% Section 232 tariff in place, sources said.

— Cenk Can