Turkey lowers tariffs on some US imports to reciprocate US move

Turkey earlier raised tariffs on US cars, alcohol and tobacco imports. (AFP/File)
Updated 22 May 2019
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Turkey lowers tariffs on some US imports to reciprocate US move

  • Turkey is decreasing tariffs on US passenger cars, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, cosmetics and PVC
  • The country hopes to boost their trade with the US up to $75 billion

ANKARA: Turkey has reduced tariffs on some US imports in response to a similar United States move to halve tariffs on Turkish steel imports, the official gazette showed on Wednesday.
The United States had doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports last August amid a diplomatic row between the NATO allies that accelerated a fall in the lira. Turkey retaliated by doubling tariffs on US cars, alcohol and tobacco imports.
“Reciprocally we decided to reduce by half the additional duties levied on 22 products originating in the US,” Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan wrote on Twitter.
“With this decision duties levied on the US originating aforementioned products will be reduced from $521.2 million to $260.6 million,” she added.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported Turkey would halve tariffs on passenger cars, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, cosmetics and PVC.
Before the decision, tariffs on US alcoholic drinks stood at 140%, while the rate is at 120% for passenger cars, 50% for PVC and 60% for cosmetic products.
The White House decision last week to halve those tariffs was a rare positive development between Ankara and Washington, but the US administration also terminated Turkey’s eligibility for the Generalized System of Preferences (GTS) program, in a move Turkey said contradicted trade goals.
Pekcan said Turkey would continue working to boost trade with the United States to $75 billion.


Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

Updated 12 min 48 sec ago
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Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

  • The PM said cabinet ministers need to be united and responsible
  • Lebanon’s debt is almost 150% of its GDP

BEIRUT, June 18 : Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri on Tuesday called for parliament to quickly approve the country’s 2019 budget and urged his coalition government to avoid internal disputes.
The cabinet this month agreed a budget plan that shrinks the projected fiscal deficit by 4 percentage points from last year to 7.6% by cutting spending and raising taxes and other fees.
“What I want during the debate is for us to be responsible and united, and not contradictory,” Hariri said in a statement, addressing cabinet ministers as to their comportment during the parliament debate.
Parliament’s finance committee is debating the draft budget and has suggested amendments, local newspapers reported. It will then put the budget to the full assembly to ratify it.
Parliament is mostly composed of parties that are also present in the coalition government and which supported the budget there.
Since the budget was agreed there have been fierce arguments between parties in the coalition over several subjects, though these have not targeted the budget.
Lebanon has one of the world’s heaviest debt burdens, equivalent to about 150% of GDP, and the International Monetary Fund has urged it to cut spending.
“We have held 19 cabinet meetings to agree on this draft budget and these sessions were not for fun, but for deep, detailed debate over every clause and every idea,” Hariri said.
“For this reason, I consider it the responsibility of each of us in government to have ministerial solidarity...to defend in parliament the decision that we have taken together,” he added.
After the 2019 budget is agreed, the cabinet must quickly start working on the 2020 budget and on approving the first phase of a program of investments toward which foreign donors have offered $11 billion in project financing. (Reporting by Angus McDowall, editing by Ed Osmond)