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US to cut Turkey from preferential trade treatment program: report

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The US intends to end Turkey’s preferential trade treatment under a program that allowed some exports to enter the country duty free, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said on Monday, Reuters reported.

Turkey is no longer eligible to participate in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because it “is sufficiently economically developed,” USTR said in a news release.

USTR said in August it was reviewing Turkey’s eligibility in the program after the NATO ally imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods in response to American steel and aluminum tariffs.

Removing Turkey from the program would not take effect for at least 60 days after notifications to Congress and the Turkish government, and it will be enacted by a presidential proclamation, USTR said. Trump notified Congress on Monday.

The United States’ decision to end preferential trade with Turkey is at odds with the goal of raising trade volume between the two countries to $75 billion, Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Tuesday.

In a tweet Pekcan said the decision would also impact small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and added that Turkey would continue to work on increasing the trade volume.

Turkey is one of 120 countries that participate in the GSP, the oldest and largest US trade preference program. It aims to promote economic development in beneficiary countries and territories by eliminating duties on thousands of products.

The United States imported $1.66 billion in 2017 from Turkey under the GSP program, representing 17.7 percent of total US imports from Turkey, according to USTR’s website.

The leading GSP import categories were vehicles and vehicle parts, jewelry and precious metals, and stone articles, the website said.

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