Turkey doubles tariffs on some U.S. imports over economy 'attacks'

Turkey ramps up US spat with huge tariffs on cars and other goods

In retaliation on Wednesday, Turkey said it was imposing taxes of ranging from 50 to 140 per cent on rice, alcohol and cars from the U.S. That comes after Erdogan called on Turks to boycott American electronics, like the iPhone, which have in any case become a lot more expensive as the lira lost nearly 40 per cent of its value this year.

Turkey has doubled tariffs on some United States imports - such as passenger cars, alcohol and tobacco - in what Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said was a response to deliberate USA attacks on the Turkish economy.

The Turkish lira has dropped to a series of record lows in recent weeks, having fallen 37 per cent so far this year.

ANKARA: Qatar on Wednesday promised to make a $15 billion direct investment in Turkey, badly hit by a currency crisis amid a widening diplomatic standoff with the United States, officials said.

The White House said Wednesday that Turkey's tariff hikes on USA products in retaliation for sanctions against Ankara were "regrettable" and again called for the immediate release of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The decision to impose new tariffs came a day after Erdogan said Turkey would boycott U.S. electronic goods, singling out iPhones.

At any rate, it's not clear how Erdogan plans to enforce this boycott if indeed he intends to enforce it at all.

The Qatari money will be channelled into banks and financial markets, a Turkish government source told Reuters.

Moody's Investors Service said a downgrade of Turkey's sovereign credit rating will hinge on the policies it takes to reduce risk of a balance of payments crisis amid an escalating standoff with the United States.

Tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been strained for years, over policy in Syria toward the Kurdish population there and over Erdogan's antidemocratic reforms.

On Wednesday, the lira traded at 6.4125 to the USA dollar, weakening from a close of 6.3577 a day earlier.

Also helping the Turkish currency were moves by Turkey to gain favour with European countries. He said that was likely to happen by the end of business on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his vice president Mike Pence have repeatedly called for the pastor's release and have sanctioned two Turkish ministers after a Turkish court moved him to house arrest after 21 months in prison.

Underscoring the ties between the countries, Sheikh Tamim was the first foreign leader to phone President Erdogan during the aborted coup in Turkey in 2016.

Turkey has also been publicly critical of criminal prosecutions in the USA involving state-run Halkbank official Mehmet Hakan Atilla, as well as Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader.

It also said that until markets "normalize", it would temporarily stop applying the effect of day-to-day losses on the securities held by banks to their capital adequacy ratios. Overall, the duties will amount to $533 million, a relatively small sum that is unlikely to hurt USA companies much and appears meant instead to make a political point.

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