Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday his country will boycott U.S. electronic goods following President Donald Trump’s move to increase duties on steel and aluminum from Turkey.
The escalating trade dispute between the two nations, NATO allies, comes amid an argument about imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson. The Trump administration has placed sanctions on Turkish officials for failing to release him.
The tariff increases, to 20 percent for aluminum and 50 percent for steel, would double the U.S.’s existing ones on imports from Turkey of those commodities.
“If (the United States) has the iPhone, there’s Samsung on the other side,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, referring to the Apple smartphone and its main South Korean rival brand. “We (also) have our Venus and Vestel,” he said, referring to Turkish smartphones. It was unclear how Erdogan intended to enforce the boycott.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the country’s finance minister would address foreign investors on Thursday. In his speech, Erdogan also renewed a call for Turks to convert their dollars into the Turkish lira, to help strengthen the currency.
The growing diplomatic dispute has helped accelerate a months-long decline for the lira currency. It has dropped 45 percent this year, although it stabilized Tuesday near record-lows. The lira was up 6 percent to around 6.55 per dollar Tuesday in the wake of an injection of money into the economy from Turkey’s central bank on Monday.
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