Impact of U.S.-Turkey Trade War on Morocco

Impact of U.S.-Turkey Trade War on Morocco

The trade and financial war currently unfolding between the U.S. and Turkey is opening new opportunities and risks for the Moroccan economy, which has signed free trade agreements with both countries.

With Turkey facing a currency crisis, President Donald Trump last week doubled tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum to offset the effects of Turkey’s weaker currency or force the country to release an American pastor.

The U.S. tariffs hikes have affected so far Turkish exports of steel, foodstuff and manufactured products, which would leave space for Moroccan exporters to the U.S. market.

The trade standoff between Turkey and the USA will be beneficial notably for Moroccan exporters to the U.S. but would constitute a source of concern in other markets as the lira dwindles in value.

With a weaker lira, Turkish exporters are looking for new alternative markets in Europe, Russia, the Gulf and central Asia.

Moroccan textile manufacturers are already expressing concern over Turkish dumping and anti-competitive practices at home and abroad.

In response to the sanctions, Turkey has sharply raised tariffs on certain American products, doubling taxes on US electronic devices, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been urging local citizens to trade their U.S. currency for the lira, and to buy domestically produced goods. In a Monday’s speech, he also told the populace to consider buying products from Vestel, a Turkish maker of Android handsets.

Turkey’s Official Gazette declared on Wednesday morning that the government had raised tariffs on US imports, including passenger cars, tobacco and alcohol.

The decree, which was signed by President Erdoğan, raised tariffs on alcoholic beverages by 140 percent, on tobacco by 60 percent, and on passenger cars by 120 percent.

Tariffs were also increased on other U.S. goods, including cosmetics, rice and coal.

The trade war between Ankara and Washington is taking place amid the ongoing row surrounding the incarceration in Turkey of evangelical U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson on terrorism charges.

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