Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Trump doubles steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey

Trump doubles steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey

President Donald Trump doubled U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium, saying "US relations with Turkey are not good at this time".

In announcing 20 percent tariffs on aluminum and 50 percent tariffs on steel, Trump said "the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!"

President Donald Trump's decision to double USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey is "brutal", director of the European Council on Foreign Relations said.

The move against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government also highlights the disconnect between Turkey and the U.S.as they fail to negotiate their way out of an array of conflicts.

While Turkey and the United States are at odds over a host of issues, the most pressing disagreement has been about the fate of American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial on terrorism charges for allegedly supporting a group that Ankara blames for the failed coup.

Trump and Erdogan have discussed Brunson's imprisonment "on several occasions", White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said at the time, adding that Trump is "not happy with Turkey's decision not to release" the pastor.

Mr Trump has insisted that Mr Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, be released "without delay"; Mr Erdogan insists his government can not interfere with the judicial process.

The Washington Post newspaper said the US administration was doing everything to strengthen its hand in the Brunson case, but the decision would do nothing but cause more problems for bilateral relations. He urged Turkish citizens to immediately exchange their gold and dollars for lira. "The entire Turkish public is against United States policies that disregard Turkey's legitimate security demands".

Erdogan also warned that Ankara could start looking for "new friends and allies". On Friday, he said the country had to take steps in answer "to those who have waged an economic war against us".

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The country is in the midst of a deepening economic crisis as Turkish lira sank as much as 18 per cent against the dollar, its biggest fall since 2001.

Meanwhile, markets are deeply concerned over the direction of economic policy under Erdogan, with inflation at almost 16 percent but the central bank reluctant to raise rates in response.

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, July 25, 2018. Trend-line support in the 1.1470s has given way today, but the follow through lower has been limited, which leads us to believe traders might try to ultimately regain the level should Erdogan calm markets down.

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, global concern over Erdogan's push to amass power, and a souring in relations with allies like the US.

"The US and Turkey are breaking up".

"If they have the dollar, we have Allah", he said.

An immediate "aggressive interest rate hike" was also needed, Mr Grier said, with something of the order of 1,000 basis points as seen in Argentina this year.

The ECB is concerned that the contagion will result in Turkish borrowers defaulting on foreign currency loans, which make up about 40 percent of the Turkish banking sector's assets, according to the Financial Times.

It did not disclose details, but suggests Turkey might gravitate further away from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies towards co-operation with Russian Federation, whose relations with the West are at their lowest since the Cold War.

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