August 15, 2018 - Turkey has slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of American goods, the latest escalation in a standoff that’s brought ties between the two NATO allies to a breaking point.
The decision follows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call on Tuesday for a boycott of U.S. electronics including Apple Inc.’s iPhones to retaliate for the Trump administration’s punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing an American pastor.
A calculation by Bloomberg shows the items listed in the decree accounted for $1 billion of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week. The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American “attacks” on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a Tweet.
Turkey will impose an additional 50 percent tax on U.S. rice, 140 percent on spirits and 120 percent on cars. There are also additional charges on U.S. cosmetics, tobacco and some food products.
The lira weakened Wednesday morning after an 8.4 percent jump on Tuesday. It was trading 0.7 percent lower at 6.33948 per dollar at 9:25 a.m. in Istanbul.
The Turkish currency has lost about a quarter of its value since the U.S. sanctioned two ministers in Erdogan’s administration over the continued detention of a U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson to increase pressure on Ankara for his release. Erdogan has rejected Washington’s pleas, saying that Turkish judiciary won’t take orders from abroad.