"Turkey has imposed additional tariffs on $1.78 billion of US imports only and not to other trading partners," the Friday release said. "USTR is launching a self-initiated GSP [Generalized System of Preferences] eligibility review of Turkey based on concerns related to its compliance with the GSP market access criterion."
Some $1.66 billion worth of Turkish imports into the United States benefited from the GSP program last year, including motor vehicles and parts, jewelry, precious metals and stone products, Reuters reported.
The Generalized System of Preferences program is designed to promote economic development in developing countries by allowing duty-free entry for several thousand categories of products from designated beneficiary countries, the release explained. A public hearing and comment period for Turkey’s Generalized System of Preferences eligibility review will be announced in an upcoming Federal Register notice, the release added.
In June, Ankara imposed tariffs worth $300 million on 22 US products in response to the United States' newly introduced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
US-Turkey relations were further strained this week after Washington imposed sanctions against Turkey's justice and interior ministers for the imprisonment of US pastor Andrew Brunson on charges of terrorism and espionage.
Moreover, earlier this week the US Senate passed a $716 billion defense budget in 2019 which includes a provision that requires the Pentagon to submit a plan to Congress to ban Turkey from acquiring the F-35 aircraft to punish it for purchasing Russian S-400 air defense systems.