Turkey Takes Protectionist Path, Hiking Import Taxes Amid Crisis

(Bloomberg) --

Turkey on Tuesday made the import of a wide range of industrial goods from cars to electronics more costly to shield local producers from competition as the economy succumbs to the coronavirus outbreak.

The government imposed additional taxes of between 2.3% and 45% on products ranging from chemicals and paper to machinery, which will be in place through Sept. 30, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette.

Facing the risk of one of the most severe recessions in the emerging world, Turkey has resisted a complete lockdown of the economy even as it’s become among the global hotspots of the contagion. Turkey has 90,980 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,140 related deaths as of Monday.

Turkey is trying to shield its industrial producers from imports as they contend with stiffer competition and a shrinking clientele at a time the pandemic is eviscerating demand. Some other items covered by the levies include plastics, cosmetics, textile products, wood, glass, furniture, shoes and kitchenware.

Read more: Turkey Declares 4-Day Curfew in Big Cities; Cases Surpass 90,000

While Turkey only reported its first case of the virus last month, its motor vehicle production already dropped 22% in March from a year earlier, with exports plunging 30%. A gauge of confidence among Turkish manufacturers fell in March by the most since the 2008 global financial crisis.

The measures unveiled so far are among the most far-reaching protectionist responses to the spreading crisis, which has already upended global supply lines. Other major economies have taken narrower steps, with Germany tightening protections for companies from foreign takeovers, Russia restricting the shipments of wheat, and the U.S. looking to ban the export of supplies needed to fight the disease.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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