Aug 15 2018

Turkey slaps tariffs on U.S. products including cars, alcohol

Turkey’s government has imposed additional tariffs on a raft of U.S. products including cars and alcohol in a diplomatic dispute with its NATO ally over the detention of a U.S. pastor.

The government has increased tariffs to 100 percent on the items, which also include products such as tobacco and some cosmetics, including sun cream, the state-run Anadolu agency reported. A presidential decree ordering the measures was published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday, it said.

Turkey made the move after U.S. President Donald Trump doubled import duties on Turkish steel and aluminium on Friday. The new sanctions, which followed measures against two Turkish ministers for their role in the detention of American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, sparked selling in the lira, driving the currency to a record low of 7.23 per dollar and raising fears of a full-blown financial crisis in Turkey.

Last week, a Turkish delegation returned from Washington with no progress towards Brunson’s release. The Turkish side had raised concerns about a U.S. Treasury investigation into Turkey’s state-run Halkbank for its alleged role in evading sanctions on Iran.

The lira climbed 4.6 percent to 6.06 per dollar at 10:31 a.m. in Istanbul, rising for a second day.

A White House official told Reuters late on Tuesday that the U.S. government might impose more sanctions on Turkey “in a few days or a week” if Brunson was not freed. The pastor's lawyer has applied to the courts to have him freed from house arrest while his trial continues, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.