GAS ON THE FIRE

Trump Doubles Tariffs on Turkey’s Steel and Aluminum as Its Currency Melts Down

Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he was doubling tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, raising them to 50 percent and 20 percent, respectively, as international markets were scrambling to deal with that country’s currency meltdown. The lira has taken a hammering over recent days, down 18 percent this week and hitting record lows against the U.S. dollar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged calm and has brushed off the plunging value of the lira, telling Turks: “If they have their dollars, we have our people, our God.” Trump’s move is likely to make the situation significantly worse. As Trump tweeted, Erdogan’s son-in-law/finance minister was reportedly delivering a speech to say the economy is doing well, unaware what the U.S. president had just declared. “I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar!” Trump wrote. “Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” Trump and Erdogan are in the middle of a feud over jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson.