Turkey has lodged a complaint with the WTO following the US decision to impose tariffs of 20 and 50 percent respectively steel and aluminium imports from Turkey.

Turkey has lodged an official complaint with the WTO over the recent US decision to double tariffs on steel and aluminium.
Turkey has lodged an official complaint with the WTO over the recent US decision to double tariffs on steel and aluminium. (Reuters)

Turkey has lodged a complaint against US duties on steel and aluminium at the World Trade Organization, the international trade court said on Monday.

US President Donald Trump earlier this month announced on Twitter that he had doubled steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey amid a row over an American pastor held for two years on terror charges.

"Turkey claims that the measures are inconsistent with a number of provisions of the WTO's Agreement on Safeguards and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994," said a statement on the WTO's website.

TRT World 's Oubai Shahbandar reports.

The first stage in the process is a request for bilateral consultations to attempt to resolve the dispute. It can take years to resolve disputes if WTO trade judges become involved.

Under dispute consultations, both sides have 60 days to seek a solution, then the issue can go to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body.

In March this year, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to impose 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium imports. These were subsequently implemented.

However at the end of July US President Donald Trump demanded that Turkey release US pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been arrested on terror-related charges.

When Turkey refused to back down, insisting the judicial process needed to take its course, Trump, after imposing sanctions on two Turkish ministers promptly doubled the tariffs on steel and aluminium to 50 and 20 percent respectively.

Turkey responded by hiking tariffs on imports of several key US products such as rice, hard alcohol, leaf tobacco, cosmetics and cars. Some of the tariffs on US goods exceed 100 percent.

Rights of exporters

A statement issued by the Turkish trade ministry said the latest action filed with the WTO followed the doubling of the steel and aluminium tariffs. 

"All necessary steps are taken to protect the rights of our exporters in the World Trade Organization platform. Regarding the said additional taxes, our country has invited the US to consult with the WTO," the statement read.

Others that have taken Trump to task at the WTO over his decision to implement steel and aluminium tariffs are India, China, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Russia, Mexico and the European Union.

The United States is the world's biggest steel importer. Turkey is the sixth-largest steel exporter to the United States. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies