The National Cotton Council of America is looking into ways to challenge import duties on U.S. cotton imposed by the Turkish government last week.

Based on assertions that U.S. cotton was dumped into Turkey injuring the domestic fiber market, which the NCC strongly challenged, Turkey released its final decision on its antidumping investigation and imposed a 3 percent CIF, or cost, insurance and freight duty on all U.S. cotton fiber imported into the country.

Turkey is the second largest export market for U.S. cotton, with shipments ranging between 1.5 million to 2 million bales annually. The duties automatically put U.S. cotton at a competitive disadvantage to cotton produced in other countries, thus seriously jeopardizing business with Turkish mills, NCC asserted.

Shane Stephens, chairman of the Memphis-based NCC, said the investigation, which was initiated in October 2014, was clearly in response to several U.S. trade investigations of Turkish steel imports. In an unusual move, he noted that the Turkish government self-initiated the investigation without any showing of special circumstances, as is required under World Trade Organization rules.

“In the first place, the investigation itself lacked transparency regarding information used to justify the investigation,” Stephens said. “In fact, data used in support of a finding of injury to the Turkish domestic cotton market ignored established facts to the contrary.”

Stephens said the council submitted ample evidence showing that Turkey’s cotton market has experienced price declines due to the same factors affecting cotton markets worldwide. He said, for example, government policies in developing countries and competition from man-made fibers have contributed to stagnant global demand, increased stocks and lower cotton prices.

“Unfortunately, the import duties only compound the difficult economic climate facing U.S. cotton growers and merchandisers,” Stephens said. “The council will continue to actively oppose the imposition of duties and is exploring ways to reverse the decision, such as WTO mechanisms and the Turkish judicial system.”

A NCC spokeswoman said Monday that there was no specific update to Turkey’s decision, but “we continue to work on this issue.”

The NCC serves as the central forum for consensus-building among producers, ginners, warehousers, merchants, cottonseed processors and dealers, cooperatives and textile manufacturers. The organization is the unifying force in working with the government to ensure that cotton’s interests are considered.