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Turkey to make importing goods harder, minister says: report

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Turkey will make it harder to import goods except for strategic products and those that cannot be produced domestically, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak was quoted as saying on Wednesday after Ankara imposed additional tariffs on hundreds of products, according to Reuters.

“Imports will not be easy,” he was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu news agency, adding that domestic production will be prioritized. He said Ankara will implement long-term lira financing programs for the industrial sector.

A sharp decline in exports during the coronavirus pandemic has led to renewed concerns about Turkey’s current account, while a fall in central bank reserves, partly due to state banks selling foreign currencies to prop up the lira, have added to worries about Turkey’s ability to service external debt.

Ankara on Wednesday imposed additional tariffs of up to 30 percent on imports of more than 800 items including work and agricultural machinery, according to a statement in the Official Gazette, a move that could limit the current account deficit.

Last week it announced additional tariffs on dozens of goods of up to 30 percent.

Turkey’s trade deficit widened by 13.4 percent year-on-year to $3.4 billion in April, with exports falling more than 40 percent.

The current account deficit widened sharply to $4.92 billion in March, central bank data showed, due to the larger trade deficit, lower tourism income and portfolio outflows.

Albayrak was also quoted as saying Turkey will carry out swaps in local currencies more effectively.

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