Turkey hits back at US with tariff hikes on key products

Posted August 16, 2018

The decree said the move brought tariffs to 50 percent on imports of United States rice, 140 percent on hard alcoholic drinks like spirits, 60 percent in leaf tobacco and 60 percent on cosmetics.

President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish metals exports to the United States last week prompting Turkey, which says it will not bow to threats, to raise tariffs on USA cars, alcohol and tobacco by the same amount on Wednesday.

China may have emerged as an alternative ally for Turkey while its relations with the U.S. have deteriorated, but it is yet to become an all-out strategic partner for the country, with its security and economic policies still shaped largely by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, has pledged to invest $15bn in Turkey, according to officials.

Ankara also announced new tariffs on USA imports, adding duties of 50% to 140% on alcohol, cars and rice.

In the wake of U.S. sanctions on Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached out to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to point out that it's in Germany's interest for Turkey to have a strong economy.

Erdoğan and Trump are locked in a dispute about the U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested nearly two years ago and accused of plotting against the Turkish government.

The United States on Wednesday ruled out removing steel tariffs that have contributed to a currency crisis in Turkey even if Ankara frees a USA pastor, as Qatar pledged $15 billion in investment to Turkey, supporting a rise in the Turkish lira.

A senior official says a series of measures aimed at shoring up the Turkish currency are taking effect and that he expects the improvements to continue.

The appreciation of the lira also comes just hours after the Turkish government hit numerous American goods being imported to the country with punitive tariffs. "The central bank has not done this through a change in the benchmark rates, but they are squeezing liquidity, so the result is the same", he said.

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Turkey took the action in response to what it called the Trump's administration's attack on its economy.

The United States was the fourth largest source of imports to Turkey previous year, accounting for $12-billion of imports, according to International Monetary Fund statistics.

"The U.S. administration must respect the judiciary process in Turkey, they need to stop trying to influence Turkish judiciary by making statements and putting pressure", stated Kalin.

A higher Turkish court was still considering the appeal and Brunson's lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, told CBS News on Wednesday that he would not consider the appeal formally rejected until the higher court issues it's ruling.

Erdogan has blamed the USA for the fall of the lira, but refused to budge on Trump's demand for Brunson's release.

Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey would boycott United States electronic goods like iPhones, even though he has himself been photographed repeatedly using the product himself.

Investors seemed to focus on this and underlying economic problems over the exchange of tariffs with the US, which analysts said was unlikely to cause serious pain.

In response, Erdogan has called for a boycott of United States electrical goods.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said in recent public speeches that Turkey and its economic allies do not need to use the dollar to conduct bilateral trade.

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