The Trump administration on Friday launched a review of Turkey’s duty-free access to U.S. markets under the Generalized System of Preferences after Ankara imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods in response to American steel and aluminum tariffs.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the review could affect $1.66 billion worth of Turkish imports into the United States that benefited from the GSP program last year, including motor vehicles and parts, jewelry, precious metals and stone products.
A USTR spokeswoman said the review was unrelated to issues surrounding Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor on trial in Turkey for backing a coup attempt in Turkey two years ago – a case that has prompted U.S. sanctions against two Turkish cabinet ministers.
Those incidents have recently helped push U.S.-Turkey relations to their lowest point in decades. The announcement from USTR follows by hours new pledges from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to try to resolve differences between the two NATO allies.
The USTR spokeswoman said the review “focuses on the Turkish government’s compliance with the GSP market access criterion and was prompted by the Turkish government’s recent imposition of unfair and unwarranted tariffs on U.S. goods entering Turkey.”
Turkey retaliated against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed in March by slapping import duties on $1.78 billion worth of U.S. products, including coal, paper, nuts, whiskey, autos, machinery and petrochemicals.
The Trump administration considers such retaliation illegal under World Trade Organization rules and has launched a WTO challenge to such duties imposed by Turkey, China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico.
Meanwhile, USTR considers the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs to be justified because they were imposed on national security grounds, which it says fall under an exception from WTO rules. But U.S. trading partners argue that the metals tariffs are merely illegal safeguard actions designed to protect U.S. producers.
Turkey is one of 120 countries that participate in the GSP, the oldest and largest U.S. trade preference program. It aims to promote economic development in beneficiary countries and territories by eliminating duties on thousands of products.
Trump nominates new US ambassador to Azerbaijan
President Donald Trump has nominated Earle D. Litzenberger of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Azerbaijan, informs a press-release of the White House.
The release notes that Litzenberger, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State.
During his career in the Foreign Service, Litzenberger served as Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund; Deputy Chief of Mission to the United States Mission to NATO; NATO Deputy Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan; Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia; and Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Earle Litzenberger earned a B.A. from Middlebury College and M.S. from the United States Army War College. He is the recipient of the Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Award. He also speaks French, Russian, Serbian, and Bulgarian.
In order for Earle Litzenberger to be appointed US ambassador to Azerbaijan, his candidacy must be approved by the Senate.
The previous US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Robert Secuta completed his mission in March 2018.
Tropical Storm Gordon roars toward Gulf Coast, expected to make landfall as a hurricane
Doyle Rice and John Bacon, USA TODAY Published 5:27 a.m. ET Sept. 4, 2018 | Updated 8:45 a.m. ET Sept. 4, 2018A handout image made available by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the probable path of Tropical Storm Gordon, Gulf Coast, USA, 03 September 2018. Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to gain strength as…
Published 5:27 a.m. ET Sept. 4, 2018 | Updated 8:45 a.m. ET Sept. 4, 2018
Schools were closing and states of emergency were being declared as the Gulf Coast braced for the heavy rains, high winds and storm surge of Tropical Storm Gordon, forecast to make landfall as a hurricane late Tuesday.
“I have declared a state of emergency in advance of Tropical Storm #Gordon, making state resources and personnel available to affected areas,” Mississippi Gov. Phil
Bryant tweeted. “Please stay weather-aware.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards also declared a state of emergency, saying hundreds of National Guard members would be deployed in coastal areas. The governors of Florida and Texas said they were monitoring developments.
The National Hurricane Center called the storm “life threatening” and warned that tornadoes were possible in Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. The hurricane warning stretched from the Pearl River that separates Mississippi and Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency began set up a number of locations for residents to pick up sandbags. In Biloxi, Miss., Mary Smith was stocking up on supplies.
“Cold drinks, bread and you know canned foods,” Smith said, listing her purchases.
Gordon is expected to dump 4 to 8 inches of rain over the western Florida Panhandle, southwest Alabama, southern and central Mississippi, eastern Louisiana, and southern Arkansas, the National Weather Service said. Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches could be seen through late Thursday, and flash flooding is expected for much of the region.
Gordon formed into a tropical storm near the Florida Keys early Monday, blasting South Florida with high winds and hours of heavy rains. After hitting the Gulf Coast as an expected hurricane, it is forecast to move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday.
The storm was centered 190 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, forecasters said Tuesday morning. Maximum sustained winds had reached at 65 mph. A Category 1 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph.
The National Hurricane Center also issued a storm surge warning, meaning possible “danger of life-threatening inundation,” for late Tuesday for the area stretching from Shell Beach, Louisiana, to Dauphin Island, Alabama.
“The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the east of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large waves,” the center said.
Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz; WWLTV.com
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2Q486qD
US reportedly installs air defense systems in northern Syria
It has been claimed the United States has installed air defense and electronic radar systems in Kobani, which are controlled by the PYD and YPG and in the al-Shaddadi U.S. base in the Hasakah province, in preparation for creating a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
The PYD and YPG are considered by Turkey as the illegal PKK’s Syrian offshoot and, thus, designated as terrorist organizations.
Ankara had launched two cross-border operations into northern Syria to disable these groups from establishing what it calls a terror corridor along the Turkish-Syrian border.
The Ankara government is closely monitoring the news regarding the installation of air defense and radar systems reported by some foreign media outlets.
A video circulating on social media purportedly shows U.S. soldiers installing the systems shipped to Kobani with military transport aircraft.
With those systems, the U.S. is said to want to create a no-fly zone in an area stretching from Manbij to Deir ez-Zor.
Turkish security sources said they are monitoring the activities in the region.
“We are looking into those claims [regarding the installment of radar systems],” the sources said. However, the sources neither confirmed nor denied those media reports.
One security official added they are doing what is necessary to collect more accurate information from local intelligence sources.
Radar systems are being installed in the rural areas of Kobani just across the Turkish border town of Suruç in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, foreign media outlets reported citing local sources.
“The U.S. wants to observe military air jets in the region,” an American commander in the video footage explained the reason for installing the radar systems.
It is claimed air defense systems are installed against possible Turkish airstrikes on PYD-controlled Kobani and other areas in the region.
The Pentagon established a new military base in Syria’s Manbij this year in addition to other military installments across northern Syria.
“We are prepared to stay here [in Syria] to ensure the enduring defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL],” U.S. Department of State representative William Roebuck said on Aug. 26.
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