Trump doubles tariffs on Turkey, stoking jitters

Berat Albayrak

Berat Albayrak

President Donald Trump said Friday he has green-lit a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey and warned that relations between the USA and Turkey "are not good at this time", a move that comes amid United States efforts to increase pressure on Ankara to secure the release of an American pastor.

In a statement the White House clarified that Trump had authorized the preparation of documents to raise steel and aluminum tariffs. Import taxes for aluminum will be 20 percent.

It said it would support steel and aluminium exporters on all worldwide platforms, and the U.S. remained an important trade partner.

Oil prices were mixed with Brent off 11 cents at $72.70 a barrel (LCc1), while USA crude was flat at $67.63 (CLc1).

The euro was under pressure in Asia on Monday as fears about the exposure of European banks to crisis-hit Turkey sent investors scurrying to safe havens including the us dollar, Swiss franc and yen.

Chase chief economist Anthony Chan discusses whether the drop in Turkey's lira will impact emerging markets.

The currency is down 40 percent just this year, shaking global investors' confidence in the country.

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin earlier wrote in the Daily Sabah newspaper that the USA runs the risk of losing Turkey as its ally.

On Sunday, Erdogan revealed details of talks between the two countries over the pastor, saying the United States had given Turkey until last Wednesday to hand him over.

He has said Turkey's economy remains strong, noting a 7.4 percent growth rate in the first three months of this year.

Erdogan's characteristic defiance in the face of the crisis has further unnerved investors. But experts argue that the central bank should instead raise interest rates to ease inflation and to support the currency.

Erdogan has blamed outside forces for trying to bring down Turkey's economy.

On Saturday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the U.S. that it could lose a "strategic partner", declaring a rally: "We only bow before God". He urged Turkish citizens to immediately exchange their gold and dollars for lira.

In a tweet, Trump announced the doubling of the tariffs - in new punitive actions against Turkey, saying: "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!"

The measures of the siege that started on August 6 don't really resemble those taken by the US on Day One.

-Turkish relations is a dispute over an American clergyman who has been jailed in Turkey since December 2016.

Turkey has accused Andrew Craig Brunson of spying and "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member".

Turkey is at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats in years over the almost two-year detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, July 25, 2018.

The new duties on Turkey are double the level that Trump imposed in March on steel and aluminium imports from a range of countries. He added that the country will continue to enjoy good economic relations with several major nations.