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Trump’s ‘doubling’ of tariffs on steel, aluminum on Turkey violates WTO rules: ministry
Turkey’s Trade Ministry Friday said additional steel and aluminum tariffs announced by U.S. President Donald Trump violate the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) amid mounting tension between the two NATO allies.
“Turkey expects other member countries to abide by international rules,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it would support steel and aluminum exporters in all international platforms, adding that the United States remained an important trade partner.
Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said in a statement: “Repeated efforts to communicate to the U.S. administration that none of the stated criteria driving America’s tariffs are applicable to Turkey have thus far proven fruitless.”
“Nevertheless, we implore President Trump to return to the negotiating table – this can and should be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.”
Trump announced a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkish imports days after a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no progress on the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey on terrorism charges.
“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20 percent and Steel 50 percent,” he said in a Twitter post.
“Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” Trump said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remained defiant and said Turkey will not be brought to its knees with economic manipulations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar exchange hit 6.41 early Friday before easing slightly, while it stood at around 5.46 as of 5 p.m. local time on Thursday.
The dollar/lira exchange rate was at the level of 6.46 at around 8:00 p.m. local time on Friday.
US President Donald Trump has doubled US tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium, as the precipitous fall of the Turkish lira accelerates.
In a tweet, Mr Trump said the currency was weak against “our very strong dollar”, adding that “US relations with Turkey are not good at this time”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech that the drop was part of a “campaign” led by foreign powers.
Relations between the two Nato allies have grown strained in recent months.
The two countries are at odds on a range of issues, from how to fight the so-called Islamic State to how to punish the alleged plotters of a failed 2016 coup in Turkey.
Most recently, President Trump issued sanctions on top Turkish officials over the ongoing detention of a US pastor who is facing terror and espionage charges in Turkey.
What is happening in Turkey?
In the past 24 hours, the lira has lost around 20% of its value. It had already fallen more than 40% in the past year.
In a televised speech on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on citizens to exchange foreign currency and gold for lira, calling it an “economic war”.
“This is a domestic and national struggle,” he said, as the lira continued to fall.
a veiled attack on the US he added: “Some countries have engaged in behaviour that protects coup plotters and knows no laws or justice.”
“Relations with countries who behave like this have reached a point beyond salvaging.
After he spoke, Mr Trump tweeted that aluminium tariffs “with respect to Turkey” would be raised to 20% and steel to 50%.
The reaction from global currency markets to the rift between two Nato allies caused the euro to slump to a 13-month low and pushed the dollar to a one-year high.
The Turkish Trade Ministry responded that the additional tariffs were against the rules of the World Trade Organization.
“Turkey expects other member countries to abide by international rules,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the US remains an important trade partner.
Trump doubles tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, says relations ‘not good’
US President Donald Trump has announced to double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, saying relations between Washington and Ankara “not good” as tensions mount between the two countries.
“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” Trump said on Twitter.
“Aluminum will now be 20 percent and Steel 50 percent. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” he added.
The United States is the world’s biggest steel importer. Washington slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March for imports from several countries, including Turkey.
Trump’s announcement came shortly after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Turks to help defend the country against the US-launched economic war against his nation. Erdogan appealed to Turks to exchange dollars and gold for Turkish lira to support the plunging currency.
The lira plunged to as low as 6 against the US dollar on Friday, a day after a Turkish delegation returned from talks in Washington with no apparent solutions to their simmering crisis.
Erdogan said that there were “various campaigns being carried out” against the country.
Relations between the two NATO allies have taken a turn for the worse amid dispute over the detention in Turkey of US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges.
Trump wrote on Twitter late last month that his country “will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.”
Erdogan responded by announcing to freeze the assets in Turkey of US ministers of “justice and interior,” in tit-for-tat response to US sanctions.
Ankara and Washington also disagree over their military interventions in the Syria war, Turkey’s plan to buy missile defense systems from Russia and the US conviction of a Turkish state bank executive on sanctions-busting charges in January.
With diplomatic tensions high, the Turkish lira has hit yet another all-time low against the US dollar, impacting more than just the Mediterranean country itself. But will the spillover into the eurozone bring a bang?
Turkey’s embattled lira on Friday hit new record lows against the US dollar, losing some 5 percent in value. The lira went into free fall, sinking more than 12 percent at one point to reach an all-time low.
It has now lost more than a third of its value this year against the US dollar and the euro.
The plunge comes amid growing fears over the exposure of European banks. Tensions with the United States also show no sign of easing, as Washington piles more pressure on Ankara with sanctions after a meeting between a Turkish delegation and US officials in Washington yielded no apparent solution to a spat over the detention in Turkey of an evangelical American pastor.
More broadly, concerns over the sickly Turkish economy’s wider impact were intensified Friday by a report in the Financial Times that the supervisory wing of the European Central Bank had begun to look more closely at eurozone lenders’ exposure to the country.
Ask the president
Deepening investor concerns about Turkey’s authoritarian trajectory under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the economic fallout have also weighed on the currency. Markets are concerned over the direction of economic policy in Turkey, where inflation has hit nearly 16 percent while the central bank remains reluctant to raise rates in response.
Speaking to supporters in the Black Sea province of Rize late on Thursday, Erdogan dismissed concerns over the currency as a campaign against his country. “There are various campaigns being carried out. Don’t heed them,” Erdogan said.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to “not lose the economic war,” while telling his citizens to “ignore campaigns against Turkey,” saying “they may have their dollars, but we have our people and God.”
“We will not lose the economic war,” Erdoğan said Aug. 10 after Friday prayers in the northern province of Bayburt during his tour of Black Sea provinces.
“Those who have dollars, euros or gold under their pillows [savings at home] should go and exchange them with the [Turkish] lira. This is a national struggle. This will be my nation’s response to those who have declared an economic war,” he added.
While the Turkish Lira continued to tumble, Erdoğan also addressed locals during his first trip to his hometown in the Black Sea province of Rize following the June 24 elections late Aug. 9.
“We will work a lot and we will try to make our country more modern with all of its 81 provinces, God willing. Just know that we are better than yesterday now, and tomorrow we will be better than today. Don’t worry,” Erdoğan said.
“There are various campaigns. Don’t care about them. And don’t forget that if they have their dollars, we have our people and our God … I want your patience and ardour,” said Erdoğan, as the Turkish currency lost more than 35 percent value against the greenback since the end of last year.