Turkey says US scrapping trade deal contradicts goals

The decision to remove Turkey from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is inconsistent with the trade volume target of $75 billion announced by both countries, says Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan.

The US decision to end its preferential trade agreement with Turkey contradicts their $75 billion bilateral trade target, Minister of Trade Ruhsar Pekcan said on Friday.

The Trump administration on Thursday terminated Turkey's preferential trade treatment that allowed some exports to enter the country duty-free, but it has halved its tariffs on imports of Turkish steel to 25 percent.

Pekcan welcomed Washington's move to halve steel tariffs.

"Lowering the tariffs to 25 percent from 50 percent is positive, but we expect the lifting of all obstacles to bilateral trade," Pekcan wrote on Twitter, saying they affected US companies, too.

She said she would continue to boost the trade volume.

"Today Turkey is in favour of a sustainable and rules-based system in global trade just like it was yesterday."

Economically developed

The White House said it was appropriate to terminate Turkey's eligibility to participate in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme, based on its level of economic development. The decision is effective May 17, it added.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) in early March said Turkey was no longer eligible to participate because it "is sufficiently economically developed."

It had begun reviewing the NATO ally's status in the programme last August when the two countries were embroiled in a diplomatic row.

But Ankara had been hopeful that Washington would not go ahead with the decision, saying it would be against the $75 billion target for mutual trade laid out by US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In a subsequent statement on Thursday, the White House said it was reducing the 50 percent tariff, doubled last August, to 25 percent.

That will put tariffs at the level they were at before the president decided to double them last August amid tensions over a since-freed American pastor who was detained in Turkey.

Turkey says US scrapping trade deal contradicts goals
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