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Turkish exporters see a place for their steel in Trump's US

The Trump administration: A Platts news and analysis feature

By Cenk Can

Published online 15 February 2017

Turkish exporters are cautiously optimistic about US President Trump's trade policies, saying they think the Trump administration will not act contrary to WTO rules, as otherwise this would disrupt global trade.

The Trump government's trade policies will be shaped by three names: the President’s chief trade adviser Peter Navarro, commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross and trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

“Two of these have important experience in the steel industry and all tend toward protective policies ... but we are not becoming desperate as we are a member of a sector that produces and exports under WTO rules, without receiving any incentives nor doing any dumping," Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association (CIB) chairman, Namik Ekinci, told Platts Monday.

"However, if the Trump government brings in protectionist measures, even on these imported products in defiance of WTO rules, this will disrupt both global trade and trading ethics. It would also block the development of the US industry, and harm local industry, in the mid-term.

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"Protective policies will also deepen the territorialisation of trade; but it is highly-likely that the Turkish steel sector will have a better position because of its competitive power," he noted.

Drawing attention to Trump's statements about new investments in the US, Ekinci also said "We predict that the US has to continue [to take] steel imports so as to realise these investments - its own steel output was at 72 million metric tons for the first eleven months of 2016, while its consumption was around 100 million mt. Imports stood at 38 million mt for that period. Therefore we believe that Turkey will continue to be one of the countries that will meet US steel demand, with our steel sector's long experience."

He said also if the US blocks imports, lowered demand would raise US steel prices, pulling up manufacturing costs for steel-using industries.

"We will continue to be in communication with the relevant US authorities to maintain the tight trade relations with US," he concluded.

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