White House Says Turkey’s Tariffs on U.S. Goods Are ‘Wrong Direction’

Gladys Abbott
August 16, 2018

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey said it was increasing tariffs on imports of certain U.S. products in response to American sanctions on Ankara that caused the value of the lira to plunge.

"It's something that we won't forget in the administration", she added.

Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak addresses people at a symposium organised by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) on the 17th foundation anniversary of the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party, in Ankara, Turkey on August 14, 2018.

Turkish officials say Qatar has pledged $15 billion of direct investments for Turkey as it struggles with a currency crisis.

Turkey on Wednesday raised tariffs on a number products imported from the United States, including passenger cars, tobacco and spirits, retaliating for President Trump's decision last week to double tariffs on Turkish metals.

The Turkish officials did not provide any further information on the nature of the investments, according to AP. Turkey and Qatar - which is also a very close United States ally - have become close economic and political partners in recent times.

JP Morgan said moves by Turkish authorities showed they were committed to stabilising the currency with technical measures such as restricting foreign exchange swaps and cancelling repo auctions to push up the average cost of bank funding.

ICE says orders for Lira have increased by 24,000 percent compared to average daily orders last month.

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The Turkish lira hit a record low of 7.24 to the dollar this week, down 40 percent this year, as investors fretted over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and a bitter dispute with the United States. Turkey has urged the U.S.to halt its support for Kurdish YPG fighters or risk confronting Turkish forces on the ground in Syria.

On Wednesday, a court rejected an appeal for Brunson's release from detention and for a travel ban against him to be lifted, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. "They said they came to Qatar's support during Doha's row with its Arab neighbors, and now it was Qatar's turn to pay back the favor". Erdogan held a similar conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.

The crisis has sent the Turkish currency into free fall since Friday. Turkey also maintains a small military base in Qatar. Erdogan said Trump's tariffs were a "stab in the back" and called for a ban on USA electronics.

Officials from Erdogan's office said during their conversation on Wednesday the two leaders confirmed their commitment to maintaining high-level visits and contacts to strengthen cooperation.

In the conference call, Albayrak said Turkey was now dealing with the market anomaly and has a banking sector which is healthy and strong.

Also helping was Turkey's decision to release two Greek soldiers from prison on Tuesday, increasing prospects for improved relations with the European Union.

President Erdogan has accused the United States of trying to "bring Turkey to its knees through threats over a pastor".

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