Turkey, home to a major textile industry and companies that supply global fashion brands such as Zara, Adidas and Nike, imported $519 mn worth of US cotton in 2016, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkey is likely to hike duties on imports of American cotton, as retaliation against potential US steel tariffs, said one of President Tayyip Erdogan’s economic advisers. US President Donald Trump said that he would impose broad tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum to protect American national security, sparking concern from US trade partners and causing turmoil in global stock markets.

Starting with Turkey, countries affected by the US tax imposition are preparing to answer the US in alternative goods – such as Turkey in cotton. The Economy Ministry said that it had spoken to European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malstrom regarding the issue and that they had agreed to cooperate on it in the World Trade Organization (WTO).US cotton accounted for 42 per cent of its total imports that year, the biggest share of any country, the data showed. Turkey is the world’s eighth-largest steel producer and the sixth-largest exporter to the United States. The reaction so far from Turkish steelmakers to Trump’s proposal has been relatively sanguine, with one saying it could ramp up its U.S. business in response. An industry association has said Turkish steel producers could still remain competitive thanks to lower costs.