Turkey slaps more tariffs on U.S. goods, escalating trade tensions

Lloyd Doyle
August 17, 2018

Anti-American rhetoric grew in Turkey in recent days as the Turkish Lira plummeted against the United States dollar and Trump doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports as well as imposed sanctions on the Turkish Interior and Justice Ministers in response to the continued detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson.

Turkey slapped another round of steep tariffs on US goods as the two countries escalate their trade battle and push the relationship to a breaking point.

The currency has lost almost 40 percent against the dollar this year, driven by worries over Erdogan's growing influence on the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates despite high inflation. "Qatar has pledged Dollars 15 billion of direct investments in Turkey", presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter yesterday.

Commenting on the move, the USA leader said: "I have just authorised a doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminium with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish lira, slides rapidly downwards against our very strong dollar".

Turkey had already retaliated against Trump's first round of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that were imposed on the European Union in late May, ending a two-month exemption.

Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of helping the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which is responsible for the failed 2016 coup, as well as for supporting the PKK.

Writing on Twitter, President Trump said: "Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years".

"We have more that we're planning to do if they don't release him quickly", Mnuchin said when asked by President Trump at a Cabinet meeting for an update on USA sanctions on Turkish officials.

The currency picked up 6 percent and strengthened briefly at just under 6 to the dollar.

Ankara's central bank took actions to reinforce the currency on August 15 and squeezed the Turkish lira's liquidity from the market.

China isn't the only country the USA has a rocky relationship with - Turkey is causing a few headaches for United States leaders as well.

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

Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson's release, while Ankara said the decision was up to the court.

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

Turkey and Qatar have traditionally maintained good ties.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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