Turkey to start implementing retaliatory tariffs against United States

FILE PHOTO: Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci poses for a photo before an interview with Reuters in Ankara, Turkey January 12, 2018. Picture taken January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will start implementing on Thursday retaliatory tariffs worth $266.5 million against the United States over ‘ill-advised’ and ‘unsupportable’ additional steel tariffs enacted by Washington, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said.

The tariffs will be imposed on imports of U.S. coal, paper, walnuts/almonds, tobacco, unprocessed rice, whisky, automobiles, cosmetics, machinery equipment and petrochemical products.

“The total tariff burden today being imposed by Turkey on the U.S. is commensurate with the additional costs Turkey faces due to the tariffs imposed on it by the U.S.,” Zeybekci said in a statement.

“They are proportional, measured and designed to protect Turkey’s interests, while encouraging dialogue.”

U.S. President Donald Trump decided in March to impose import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, drawing criticism from other countries for heightening the risk of a global trade war.

The U.S. tariffs have been imposed on Europe, Canada and Mexico, some of its biggest trade partners since June 1, after their temporary exemptions expired.

The United States is the fifth largest country where Turkey exports its goods and trade volume amounted to $20.6 billion in 2017, official data showed.

Turkey remained committed to active, robust and reciprocal trade relations with the United States, Zeybekci said.

Reporting by Dominic Evans; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Daren Butler