UPDATE 1-Turkish duty on U.S. cotton to hurt its own textile exporters -association head

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ISTANBUL, April 19 (Reuters) - Turkey’s plan to impose anti-dumping duties on U.S. cotton imports will drive up costs for its own textile producers, hurting the competitiveness of their exports, the head of an industry group said on Tuesday.

Ankara has decided to place 3 percent duties on U.S. cotton imports, saying in an announcement on Sunday that imports were hurting domestic cotton production. U.S. cotton farmers have said they will fight the decision through the World Trade Organization and Turkish courts.

The spat is likely to put strain on trade relations between one of the world’s top fibre growers and one of its biggest customers at a time of weak global prices and demand.

“This is a decision that will increase raw material costs of textile producers by 2-3 percent and will somewhat affect price competitiveness of Turkish exports,” Ismail Gulle, head of the Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Union, whose members account for 70 percent of Turkish textile exports.

“U.S. cotton has specialty uses, it is not something we could give up using, the industry will shoulder the costs.”

Turkey is the second-biggest buyer of U.S. cotton, with shipments ranging from 1.5 million to 2 million bales per year.

Turkey exported $17 billion worth of garments and ready-to-wear clothing last year, and $8 billion of textiles and raw materials, according to industry data.

The move had been widely expected since February, when Turkey’s economy ministry said U.S. cotton was hurting the domestic cotton industry.

“It was determined that the material damage to local production branch has been the result of dumping in imports,” the government said in its official gazette on Sunday, announcing the move. (Reporting by Can Sezer, editing by David Evans; writing by David Dolan; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)