Friday, 16 November, 2018

Turkey's tariffs on U.S. imports amount to $553 million, trade minister says

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech to Turkish ambassadors at the Presidential Palace in Turkey Monday Aug. 13 US dollar tumbles more than 5 percent against the Turkish lira
Scott Davis | 15 August, 2018, 20:58

Tariffs have been imposed on 22 types of produce and goods imported from the United States, amounting to $533 million U.S. of extra duties, according to a report in the state-run Anadolu Agency, quoting Rushar Pekcan, the country's trade minister.

Vice President Fuat Oktay, in a posting on Twitter, said the duties were in response to the US' "deliberate attacks on our economy".

The Turkish lira has lost more than 40 percent of its value.

Just last week, Mr Erdogan was urging ordinary Turks to do their part to support the currency, saying, "If there is anyone who has dollars or gold under their pillows, they should go exchange it for liras at our banks".

Despite a call from Turkish business groups for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to mend ties with Washington, the leader was defiant on Tuesday, calling for a boycott of U.S. electronic equipment.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Turkey's economic woes were not started by U.S. sanctions.

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.




The tariffs come a day after Erdogan said Turkey would boycott USA electronic goods, singling out iPhones.

He also reiterated that the Turkish economy has strong fundamentals and the recent volatility in the exchange rate does not reflect the economic structure of the country, but emanates from an economic war waged on Turkey with illegitimate and irrational moves targeting the country's economy. "This visit, at the same time, is an indicator that Qatar stands with Turkey", Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for the Turkish president, told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. "If they have iPhones, there is Samsung on the other side, and we have our own Vestel here", he said, referring to the Turkish electronics company, whose shares rose 5 percent. The tariff increases followed Donald Trump's decision last week to double U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium, deepening Turkey's economic crisis. Independent economists say Erdogan should let the central bank raise interest rates to support the currency, but he wants low rates to keep the economic growth going.

Underscoring the ties between the countries, Sheikh Tamim was the first foreign leader to phone President Erdogan during the aborted coup in Turkey in 2016. Turkey's state-run news agency and US officials say US National Security adviser John Bolton had met with the Turkish ambassador to Washington on Monday.

In another high-profile case, a Turkish court ruled on Wednesday to release from jail Taner Kilic, the local chair of Amnesty International, a researcher from the rights group said.

Tisdall thinks Erdogan's arrogant style and dictatorial ambitions have backed him into a corner because he can not blame anyone else for Turkey's sputtering economy and souring worldwide relations.

The US has also been irritated by Turkey's decision to buy a Russian missile defence system earlier this year, while Ankara has hit out at Washington's backing of Kurdish rebels in Syria.

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