INTERNATIONAL - Turkey has slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of US goods, the latest escalation in a standoff that has 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 US electronics including Apple’s iPhones to retaliate for the Trump administration’s punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing a US pastor.
A calculation by Bloomberg shows the items listed in the decree accounted for $1 billion (R14.5bn) of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by US President Donald Trump last week. The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to US “attacks” on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a Tweet.
Turkey will impose an additional 50 percent tax on US rice, 140 percent on spirits and 120 percent on cars. There are also additional charges on US cosmetics, tobacco and some food products.
The lira weakened on Wednesday morning after an 8.4 percent jump on Tuesday.
The Turkish currency has lost about a quarter of its value since the US sanctioned two ministers in Erdogan’s administration over the continued detention of a US Pastor Andrew Brunson to increase pressure on Ankara for his release. Erdogan has rejected Washington’s pleas, saying that Turkish judiciary will not take orders from abroad.