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techkenyot.com August 20, 2018


USA to Increase Tariffs on Turkish Aluminum, Steel

12 August 2018, 10:55 | Glen Norman

Trump OKs stiffer tariffs on Turkish metals as lira plummets

Lira crashes as US slaps tariffs on Turkey

President Donald Trump says the United States has chose to increase tariff rates on Turkish steel and aluminum.

Trump said Friday on Twitter that he authorized a new 20 percent tariff on aluminum and 50 percent tariff on steel from Turkey.

He also said it was a pity that Washington chose Brunson over Turkey, its partner in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and in an opinion piece published in the New York Times, he warned the U.S. that Ankara had other alternatives as allies.

Relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have sunk to their lowest point in decades over a number of issues including the detention of USA pastor Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges, prompting the Turkish lira to hit record lows against the dollar. That turned into a rout on Friday, with the currency diving as much as 18 per cent at one point, the biggest one-day drop since a 2001 financial crisis in Turkey.

The currency's drop - 41 percent 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 lira tumbled about 10 per cent on Friday to another record low as investors worry about Erdogan's unorthodox economic policies and USA sanctions.

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Erdoğan attempted to downplay economic concerns by telling Turks "not to worry", telling supporters they were in an "economic war" and to convert their dollars and "gold under the pillow" into lira.

"These are the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of an economic war waged against our country", he said.

Turkey's president Recep Erdogan has hit back hard, saying his country is now in a state of "economic war" with America.

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and other media reports quote Erdogan as making the comment to a group of worshippers following traditional Muslim Friday prayers during a visit to the northern city of Bayburt.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif waded into the mounting row between Turkey and the United States on Saturday, accusing Washington of an "addiction to sanctions and bullying". "Don't heed them", Erdogan said.

Erdogan has been putting pressure on Turkey's central bank to not raise interest rates in order to keep fueling economic growth.

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The United States and Turkey are already at loggerheads over trade, defense deals, the future of the US mission in Syria and Ankara's warming ties with Russian Federation.

But the pastor is only one of a number of issues addressed by Mr Erdogan in the New York Times and his two defiant speeches to supporters on Friday.

Turkish media covered the latest tensions between Ankara and Washington, with pro-government daily Sabah saying on its front page that "the currency attack" was no different from the attempted July 2016 coup.

The central bank, nominally independent but never defying Mr Erdogan, appears to have abandoned the conventional monetary policy of using rates hikes as a tool to support the currency and bring down inflation. Thus, Trump's tweet suggests that any country that enters a time of economic turmoil - and consequently, sees the value of its currency fall - is a fair target for punitive trade actions by the United States.

He also cited the Turkish invasion of Cyprus as an example of his country's willingness to protect its interests when the United States "refuses to listen".

Deteriorating ties between the US and Turkey - both North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members - have also alarmed investors.

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Foreign investors could be spooked and try to pull their money out, reinforcing the currency drop and potentially leading to financial instability.



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