By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump reduced tariffs on Turkish steel imports Thursday from 50% to 25%, citing what he said were necessary import reductions.
That will put tariffs at the level they were at before the president decided to double them last August amid tensions over a since-freed American pastor who was detained in Turkey.
During that time, the U.S. and Turkey imposed reciprocal tariffs on a number of goods, including Turkish steel and aluminum.
Trump said in his proclamation that imports of steel products from Turkey declined 48% in 2018, "with the result that the domestic industry's capacity utilization has improved at this point to approximately the target level recommended" by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
That level, Trump said, "will improve the financial viability" of the U.S. steel industry in the long term.
"Given these improvements, I have determined that it is necessary and appropriate to remove the higher tariff on steel imports from Turkey," Trump said.
His proclamation said that maintaining the 25% tariffs remains "necessary," however.
Trump's decision will be effective Friday.