The Trump administration on Friday launched a review of Turkey's duty-free access to U.S. markets under the Generalized System of Preferences after Ankara imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods in response to American steel and aluminium tariffs.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office said the review could affect $1.66 billion worth of Turkish imports into the United States that benefited from the GSP program last year, including motor vehicles and parts, jewellery, precious metals and stone products.
"Turkey has imposed additional tariffs on $1.78 billion of US imports only and not to other trading partners," the release said on Friday. "USTR is launching a self-initiated GSP [Generalized System of Preferences] eligibility review of Turkey based on concerns related to its compliance with the GSP market access criterion."
In 2017, the United States imported $1.66 billion from Turkey under the Generalized System of Preferences program, which represented 17.7 percent of total US imports from Turkey.
A public hearing and comment period for Turkey’s Generalized System of Preferences eligibility review will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register notice, the release added.
Ankara retaliated against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed in March by slapping import duties on $1.78 billion worth of U.S. products, including coal, paper, nuts, whiskey, autos, machinery and petrochemicals. The Trump administration considers such retaliation illegal under World Trade Organization rules and has launched a WTO challenge to such duties imposed by Turkey, China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico.
Meanwhile, USTR considers the U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs to be justified because they were imposed on national security grounds, which it says fall under an exception from WTO rules. But U.S. trading partners argue that the metals tariffs are merely illegal safeguard actions designed to protect U.S. producers.
Turkey is one of 120 countries that participate in the GSP, the oldest and largest U.S. trade preference program. It aims to promote economic development in beneficiary countries and territories by eliminating duties on thousands of products.