Talk of US Section 232 steel duty decrease for Turkey grows louder

Talk is building that the Trump administration might - or might already have decided to - reduce Section 232 tariffs on Turkish steel to 25% from 50%, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Word of a potential reduction in duties circulated among industry executives on the sidelines of an annual World Steel Association meeting last month in Tokyo and has been making the rounds among US sources more recently.

It was not immediately clear whether or when such a reduction in duties might happen.

The Commerce Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment from Fastmarkets AMM on Friday November 2.

A presidential proclamation was required for the Trump administration to double Turkey’s Section 232 duty to 50% on August 10. One would also be required to reduce the margin to 25%.

Fastmarkets was not aware of any such proclamation early Friday afternoon Chicago time.

The rumors of a duty drop followed the US and Turkey removing sanctions they had imposed on each other due to a spat over the detention of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson. Brunson was released last month after being imprisoned for two years in Turkey.

US President Donald Trump unveiled news of the doubling of duties on Turkish steel in August in a pre-dawn tweet. His Twitter feed has made no mention of a potential decrease in duties.

Turkey is one of the top suppliers of foreign steel to the US market. But its exports to the US have lagged this year.

The US this year imported 762,105 tonnes of steel from Turkey through August, down 54% from 1.66 million tonnes in the same period last year, according to Commerce Department figures.

Turkey has traditionally been an important consumer of US scrap exports and a key supplier of foreign rebar and flat-rolled steel to the US.