Turkey hits back at USA with tariff hikes on key products

Turkey news: Erdogan rages at Trump 'economic warfare' over sanctions | Daily Star

Tariffs on American cars were doubled to 120 percent while the tariff on alcoholic drinks rose to 140 percent.

The Turkish lira has lost about 40 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, after US President Donald Trump doubled, on Friday, customs duties on imports of aluminum and Turkish steel, days after Washington imposed further sanctions against the Turkish Ministers of Justice and Interior, under the pretext of not releasing American Pastor Andrew Branson, who is detained by Turkey on terrorism-related charges.

The Gulf state made the investment as Turkey grapples with a collapse in the lira and tensions with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States.

Turkey on Wednesday said it was hiking tariffs on imports of several key U.S. products in retaliation for American sanctions against Ankara, as a bitter dispute between the two allies that sent the Turkish lira into freefall showed no sign of ending.

Erdogan spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, the Turkish presidency said while he is due to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

The court in the western city of Izmir rejected the appeal and ruled that Brunson will remain under house arrest, the state television TRT reported.

Turkey announced Wednesday that it is increasing tariffs on imports of certain USA products as a court denied an American pastor's appeal to be released from house arrest - both moves likely to escalate a feud with the United States that has helped trigger a currency crisis. Last week, the US also announced plans to double tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum.

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.

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The diplomatic dispute has sent shockwaves through financial markets across the world as the plunging lira causing currencies in other developing countries to nosedive. "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.

Turkey's economic crisis has deeper roots beyond the market reaction triggered by rising tensions with the US.

The United States was the fourth largest source of imports to Turkey past year, accounting for $12 billion, according to International Monetary Fund statistics. Turkey's exports to the United States previous year amounted to $8.7 billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

A court meanwhile rejected an appeal for the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson - whose detention for nearly two years sparked the crisis - leaving no immediate solution to the Turkey-US row in sight.

Sonar Cagaptay, director of the Turkish program at the Washington Institute, described the Qatari investment as a "big deal that could build investor confidence in Turkey, staving off potential economic collapse".

" 'We are going to apply a boycott on America's electronic products, ' Erdogan said Tuesday during a televised speech, adding that there were alternatives, produced by South Korean or Turkish companies".

She said Turkey had treated Brunson "who we know to be a very good person and a strong Christian who has done nothing wrong, very unfairly, very badly, and it's something that we won't forget".

Erdogan has said Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the currency.

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