President Trump Authorizes Doubling of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Turkey

President Trump Authorizes Doubling of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Turkey

President Donald Trump administration announced that it would higher the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum over the detainment of American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in 2016.

Trump said the tariffs on aluminum imports would be increased to 20 per cent and those on steel to 50 per cent as the Turkish Lira "slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

The White House said Mr Trump had authorised them under a section of U.S. trade law that allows for tariffs on national security grounds. Import taxes for aluminum will be 20 percent.

In refusing to change course in his economic plan, "the Turkish president has chose to play a game of chicken with the worldwide financial markets", said Aaron Stein, a Turkey expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington.

Turkey's currency sank to record lows on Friday amid panic about the country's economic health and souring relations with the United States.

The lira fell as low as 6.75 to the dollar, down a whopping 14 percent on the day and 41 percent since the start of the year as investors worry about the country's economic policies and a dispute with the United States that has led to sanctions and new tariffs.

The Turkish president called on Turks to exchange dollars, euros and gold for Turkish lira.

"Turkish markets continue to spiral downwards with the lira now in a full blown currency crisis. i nvestor confidence in President Erdogan's regime has been waning for much of the past year but key cabinet changes made after the June 24th elections have been particularly damaging for sentiment".

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The currency's drop - 41 per cent so far this year - is a gauge of fear over a country coming to terms with years of high debt, worldwide concern over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's push to amass power, and a souring in relations with allies like the U.S.

The Turkish lira has fallen more than 10% against the dollar after a Turkish delegation in Washington failed to prevent United States sanctions. The Nasdaq composite was down more than 0.8 percent as technology stocks also dropped.

On June 21, Turkey's retaliatory tariffs went into effect on 4 to 70 percent of more than $1 billion worth of US goods.

"All the steps taken against Turkey will be given a befitting response as they have been given before", he vowed.

A USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The National that the tariffs decision was among a number of options presented to Mr Trump. One U.S. dollar traded at 5.96 lira by 2:15 p.m. In Europe, where exposure to Turkey is far higher, Germany's DAX fell by 1.7% and France's CAC by 1.2%.

He said that the decision "demonstrates that the U.S. is not behaving rationally and is not showing patience when it is needed".

Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, him on trial for espionage and terror-related charges linked to a failed coup attempt in the country two years ago. High level meetings in Washington between USA and Turkish officials ended this week without an apparent resolution. "While they have dollars, we have our people, law and Allah", the Turkish leader said addressing citizens in the Black Sea city of Rize. The currency has lost more than 30% of its value so far this year.

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