Turkey initiates WTO complaint after US doubles Section 232 duties

Turkey has requested dispute consultations with the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the doubling of US duties on certain imported steel and aluminium products, the trade group said on Monday August 20.

“Turkey claims that the measures are inconsistent with a number of provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards and the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade [Gatt] 1994,” the WTO said.

On August 10, US President Donald Trump authorized higher tariffs on imports from Turkey, doubling them to 20% on aluminium and 50% on steel. Those duties went into effect on August 13.

The increased tariffs on goods from Turkey came amid a dispute between the two countries that was triggered by the Middle Eastern country’s detention of a US citizen for alleged links to outlawed political groups in Turkey.

If Turkey and the US fail to “resolve the dispute” after 60 days, Turkey can request adjudication by a panel, the WTO said.

Members of the WTO have voiced concerns about the US decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from any origin, and the effect these may have on the global trading system.

Several countries have requested WTO dispute consultations with the US since that country imposed import duties of 25% on steel products and 10% on aluminium goods on March 23. The tariffs were imposed under the US Section 232 trading powers and were said to be in the interests of US national security.