The White House on Wednesday condemned Turkey’s doubling of tariffs on US imports in response to Washington’s moves on imports from Turkey.
Tensions between the two NATO allies have increased amid Turkey’s detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and other US citizens and US government employees. The United States doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum last week, which contributed to a tumble in the Turkish lira.
Turkey has also increased tariffs on several products from the US, including alcohol and tobacco and cars, according to a new presidential decree published early Wednesday in the Official Gazette.
“The tariffs from Turkey are certainly regrettable and a step in the wrong direction. The tariffs that the United States placed on Turkey were out of national security interests. Theirs are out of retaliation,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.
Under the decree, Turkey will raise tariffs to 100 percent on the imports. The new decree amends a presidential decree of July 11.
“Tax rates on imports of some products have been increased on a reciprocal basis against the US administration’s deliberate attacks on our economy,” Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
Among the products are cars, rice, some alcohol, tobacco products and some cosmetic products such sunscreen.
Sanders also said on Wednesday that even an easing of tensions between the two countries would not spell the end of US tariffs against Turkey.
“The tariffs on steel will remain in place whether or not the prisoners are released,” said Sanders, who described the efforts by the United States to boost its steel industry as a “matter of national security.” However, the sanctions imposed on two Turkish ministers would be reconsidered if the pastor and others were freed, Sanders said.