Turkey raises tariffs on United States imports amid economic spat

Turkey lira crisis highlights emerging currencies plight

Turkish lira plunged on concerns over the deepening rift between Washington and Ankara, hitting a record low of 7.24 against US dollar and weakening some 45 percent so far this year.

Lavrov, alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, also declared, "We are at a turning point, without exaggeration, in world history" from dominance by a single power toward a multipolar environment.

"Rates have gone up by 10 percent ..." Additional tariffs on USA products amounted to $553 million, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said Wednesday.

A treasury desk trader at one bank said this showed relations with the European Union could recover "while tense relations continue with the U.S.".

Since January, the Turkish lira has lost more than 34 percent of its value against the dollar, pushing up the price of everyday items. "Remarkable turnaround", Tim Ash, Bluebay Asset Management senior emerging markets analyst wrote in a client note. "They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira", he said.

The lira rebounded some 8 per cent on Tuesday, helped by news of a planned conference call on Thursday in which the finance minister will seek to reassure worldwide investors.

Erdogan doubled the tariffs on passenger cars to 120 per cent, on alcoholic drinks to 140 per cent and on leaf tobacco to 60 per cent. Tariffs were also boosted for cosmetics, rice and coal.

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Commenting on the new measure, Vice-President Fuat Oktay tweeted that it was taken "under the principle of reciprocity" against "the U.S. administration's deliberate attacks on our economy".

President Donald Trump had previously announced that the United States was doubling steel and aluminium tariffs on Turkey, as the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies row over the detention by Turkish authorities of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

"Surely, Moscow might be happy to exploit this crisis especially as calls for boycotting iPhones could easily escalate to demands for reduced military cooperation, for example, with regard to Incirlik [Air Base] or other US-NATO facilities in Turkey at a time when Washington still doesn't have an ambassador there". Turkey's exports to the United States a year ago amounted to $8.7-billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

Earlier this month, Erdogan ordered the assets of two USA officials frozen in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Turkey's justice and interior ministers over the U.S. pastor's detention. Brunson's lawyer said on Tuesday he had launched a fresh appeal to a Turkish court for the pastor's release.

Ankara has repeatedly said the case is up to the courts and a Turkish judge moved Brunson from jail to house arrest in July.

The latest attack on the economy showed that the dollar is no longer a "trustworthy" currency and is instead being used as a tool for political punishment, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said at a conference in Ankara he as attending alongside Erdogan.

"Turkey does not favour an economic war, but it can not remain unresponsive when it is attacked", said Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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