US-President Donald Trump announced Friday to double tariffs on steel imported from Turkey to 50%. This could put additional pressure on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Gulf Coast Express Pipeline and dampen prospects for future US natural gas projects. Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc., which moves more than a third of the gas consumed in the US, is sourcing 144,000 mt of steel pipe from Turkey, which is nearly half of the required steel. It is planned to be used for Gulf Coast Express. An American company is set to produce 175,000 mt for the mentioned pipeline.
“We continue to be concerned that these sorts of trade actions threaten important energy infrastructure projects, and ultimately hurt American consumers and businesses,” the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America commented in a statement. The association continues: “companies that made purchasing agreements months or years ago, before the announcement of Section 232 tariffs, are now being unfairly punished for participating in international trade.”
A Kinder Morgan spokeswoman, Sara Hughes, declined to say whether Trump’s latest decision involving tariffs on steel imports from Turkey would delay or imperil Gulf Coast Express. She noted that the company has a pending request to the US Commerce Department for an exclusion from Trump’s previous 25% tariffs on steel imports from Turkey.
President Trump's announcement from Friday marks the latest escalation in a dispute between the US and Turkey, which is mainly about the dubious imprisonment of Andrew Brunson. Brunson is accused of supporting a terrorist organization. This move of Turkey is widely considered a political move to put pressure on the US to hand over Fetullah Gülen, who lives in the US and who is considered enemy of the state by the Turkish government.