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Turkish FM, US Secretary of State to Meet Amid Souring Relations


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Monday amid souring relations between the NATO allies and trading partners over economic and other issues.

The talks come as Turkish sectors, such as the major steel industry, reel from the higher tariffs imposed by the U.S. administration on Turkey and other nations.

"Huge, huge effect, steel producers are desperate, the psychology is terrible among producers," said Tayfun Senturk, a Turkey-based international steel trader. "For the last three months, there have been no new U.S. orders, and the U.S. is a major market for Turkish producers, especially in piping. If it continues for a few years, there will be closures."

In March, President Donald Trump introduced 25 percent tariffs on steel from several primary producers. Turkey didn't enjoy an exemption given to the European Union, Canada and Mexico that ended Friday.

"This is mainly a dispute with China and secondly the European Union. Why was Turkey targeted? I don't understand," Senturk said.

Turkey is the eighth-largest steel producer in the world and second only to Germany in Europe. Last year, Turkey was the sixth-largest exporter to the United States.

There are growing suspicions among Turkish steel producers that politics rather than economics is behind the steel tariffs.

Source: Voice of America

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