Turkey may impose tariffs on local electronics

By Zane Kheir, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Turkish authorities conducted an investigation near the end of last year on global cellphone companies, placing Taiwanese electronics manufacturers HTC (���F�q), Asus (�غ�) and Acer on a list of firms that will be subject to import tariffs on their goods entering Turkey; this investigation was the first of its kind conducted on global cellphone manufacturers. Bureau of Foreign Trade Deputy Director-General Yang Shu-mei (���Q�A) stated yesterday that the government attaches great importance to this issue and that the Turkish Ministry of Economics’ Defense Department is considered a major stakeholder in tax implementation. A hearing including Taiwanese delegates on the issue will be held in March at the earliest, according to Yang. In addition, the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (TEEMA) has also registered to attend the hearing, and represent the Taiwanese firms’ interests there. According to World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations, even if the product involved is not being imported under dumping or other unfair trade practices, the importing country still has the right to conduct an investigation on the basis of national defense. Given Turkey’s WTO membership, defensive measures Turkey can impose include import taxes and quotas that can generally last for four years, but no longer than eight. According to official statistics, Taiwan is currently Turkey’s fifth largest cellphone export destination. Over the past three years, the value of cellphones Taiwan exports to Turkey has been US$18.9 million, US$63.93 million, and US$57.14 respectively. Turkey’s top four cellphone-providing nations are mainland China, Vietnam, South Korea and India. China, which is the largest exporter of phones to Turkey, currently holds two-thirds of the market share. Could Affect Future of International Trade: MOEA Yang stated that since Turkey started the investigation, multinational cellphone firms have been affected. The Taiwanese government currently has two ideas regarding the possible import tariff. Firstly, Turkey still has a relatively under developed cellphone industry, however Taiwanese cellphone imports only make up 1.47 percent of Turkey’s imports, which is a relatively low ratio and will not cause significant damage to Turkish industry.

The Ministry of Economic Affair’s Industrial Development Bureau officials stated that from Dec. 5, 2014, Turkey launched the investigation on Taiwanese cellphone makers, which is considered rare by international standards. The bureau stated that the results of Turkey’s actions could have an impact on the future of international trade measures.

An HTC spokesperson stated yesterday morning that the company is not currently willing to release any overseas sales figures, but that they are currently trying to gain an understanding of the possible impact on their overseas sales.

Asus CFO Chang Wei-ming (�i����) stated that the company has still not been informed about these changes in the Turkish market, however their market share in Turkey is not considered high, at less than 5 percent. Representatives from Acer also claimed that they had not received any notice about these changes and did not comment further on the matter.