Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Turkey slaps retaliatory tariff hikes on key USA products

Turkey slaps retaliatory tariff hikes on key USA products

"The use of national currencies for mutual trade has for several years been one of the tasks that the presidents of Russian Federation and Turkey had set", Lavrov told a joint news conference with Cavusoglu in Ankara.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on aluminium and steel from Turkey in response to the detention of a US citizen.

Also Wednesday, the Turkish government doubled tariffs on some USA imports including cars and alcohol.

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.

In response to Trump's tariffs, Turkish officials said they will impose a 50 percent tax on US rice, 140 percent on spirits, 60 percent on tobacco and 120 percent on cars while increasing duties on a variety of other goods.

It was supported by news of a planned conference call on Thursday in which the finance minister will seek to reassure investors concerned by Erdogan's influence over the economy and his resistance to interest rate hikes to tackle double-digit inflation.

The lira has lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing control over the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation.

While the lira climbed 5.3 per cent to 6.0294 per dollar by 7:06 Istanbul, it's still down 18 per cent this month.

"Turkey does not favor an economic war, but it can not remain unresponsive when it is attacked", presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

In response, Erdogan announced boycott of U.S. electronic devices, including Apple iPhones.

"Pastor Andrew Brunson is an innocent man held in Turkey & justice demands that he be released".

Erdogan has repeatedly described the crisis as an "economic war" that Turkey will win.

"The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Meanwhile, a local court rejected an appeal by Pastor Andrew Brunson, a US citizen who has lived and worked in Turkey for almost two decades, to be released from house arrest while he is awaiting a trial for espionage and terrorism-related charges.

"The tariffs that are in place on steel will not be removed with the release of pastor Brunson".

On Tuesday, Brunson's Turkish attorney petitioned the court for his client's release from house arrest.

Relieving tensions in a case that annoyed Brussels, a Turkish court Tuesday released two Greek soldiers detained since March on espionage charges for illegally crossing the border.

"(President Erdogan) is not acting like much of an ally, and he hasn't acted like much of an ally for some period of time", Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said. "Not only with Turkey and Iran, we're also arranging and already implementing payments in national currencies with the People's Republic of China", he said. Erdogan stressed that any product made by the US could be made even better in Turkey and that for the time being the country would pivot to using South Korea's Samsung electronics.

But the United States insists Andrew Brunson, a long-time Turkish resident who ran the tiny Izmir Resurrection Church, is "a victim of unfair and unjust detention". Brunson's lawyer told CBS News that a higher court was still considering the appeal and could overrule that decision.

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