Turkey increases tariffs on some United States goods, escalating feud

Energy and industrial companies took some of the worst losses while technology companies held up better

Turkey on Wednesday said it was hiking tariffs on imports of several key U.S. products in retaliation for American sanctions against Ankara, as a bitter dispute between the two allies that sent the Turkish lira into free-fall showed no sign of ending.

Other US products covered by the tariffs include fruit, coal, makeup and rice.

Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter that the tariffs on certain products were increased "within the framework of the principle of reciprocity in retaliation for the deliberate economic attacks by the United States".

Turkey doubled tariffs on some USA imports including cars, alcohol and tobacco on Wednesday in retaliation for US moves, but the lira rallied a further six percent after a fresh move by banking authorities to underpin the currency.

A treasury desk trader at one bank said this showed relations with the European Union could recover "while tense relations continue with the United States of America".

Markets are concerned by Erdogan's influence over the economy and his resistance to interest rate increases to tackle double-digit inflation.

It was also helped by a step from the banking watchdog BDDK, cutting the limit for Turkish banks' forex swap, spot and forward transactions with foreign banks to 25 percent of a bank's equity. "They are killing offshore lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the lira", he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference Tuesday at the presidential palace in Ankara.

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The U.S. wants American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson freed and cleared of terrorism-related charges he has faced since 2016, when Turkish authorities arrested him for allegedly aiding a failed coup attempt earlier that year.

Turkey and Qatar have traditionally maintained good ties and Ankara stood by Doha after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar a year ago, accusing it of financing terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

Turkey has meanwhile resisted pressure to release Brunson - who has been held for two years and is now under house arrest - with officials warning it could face further sanctions.

On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected a second appeal to release Brunson. Turkey's exports to the United States previous year amounted to $8.7 billion, making it Turkey's fifth-largest export market.

The White House official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said "nothing has progressed" thus far on the Brunson case.

Erdogan has said Turkey is the target of an economic war, and has made repeated calls for Turks to sell their dollars and euros to shore up the currency.

Qatar on Wednesday promised to make a $15 billion direct investment in Turkey, badly hit by a currency crisis amid a widening diplomatic standoff with the United States, officials said.

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