Turkey, Economy, Europe

Exclusive - Trade ties with Turkey have great potential: UK secretary

UK’s international trade secretary says a big opportunity lies in complementary nature of both economies

Muhammed Ali Gurtas and Dilara Hamit   | 18.06.2019
Exclusive - Trade ties with Turkey have great potential: UK secretary British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox speaks during an interview in Ankara, Turkey on June 18, 2019. ( Murat Kaynak - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

The trade and investment ties between the U.K. and Turkey have a great potential, the U.K.'s international trade secretary said Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Liam Fox said a big opportunity lies in the complementary nature of both economies, particularly in financial services, in legal services, educational services and life sciences.

"All of these areas and more, I think we have got an ability to work together," Fox said.

He noted that the U.K. is the world’s second biggest services exporter and has a lot of expertise in a lot of areas where a benefit into joint ventures and collaborations could be brought by the two countries.

Fox also said that the U.K.’s skills in project management enable both countries to have the ability to improve their economies and to help the Turkish economy grow and mature more quickly.

"That is a win-win for both of us," he said. "It means more jobs and more prosperity here in Turkey, but it also for the U.K. means a potentially bigger market to sell into."

The U.K. is among Turkey's top trade partners -- second largest market for Turkish products and seventh largest source for the country's imports.

Last year, Turkish exports to the U.K. amounted to $11.1 billion while its imports from the U.K. totaled $7.4 billion.

"The degree of improvement in our trading relationship means that we are already performing better than the targets that were previously set," Fox said.

Over the last decade, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries surged from $9.4 billion to $18.5 billion.

In the same period, Turkey attracted $7.2 billion foreign direct investment from the U.K. while Turkey's overseas investments in this country totaled some $2.5 billion.

The British minister stressed that the U.K. is one of the top three investment destinations in the world, with its predictable/fair/equitable legal system, skilled workforce, regulatory and stable free market, low and sustainable taxes.

"All I would say is that any country that wants to get that level of inward investment that the U.K. currently gets need to look at all those issues.

"When you get that stability and you get the regularity certainty, then you become more attractive destination for investment," he added.

Independent trade policy

Speaking about the possible post-Brexit trade policies, Fox said the U.K. wants to be an expansive outward looking liberal country, encouraging free trade wherever it can.

"We have got 21 working groups with a range of countries to look at how we scope out potential future, trading and investment relationships.

"And we have got continuity agreements so that we can ensure in the event of a no-deal with the EU that our trade continues with as little interruption as possible," he added.

Pointing out his opinion about Brexit with or without a deal, Fox said he has consistently voted in parliament for a deal with the EU.

"I think that is the best and least disruptive way in which we can carry out the instructions of our voters which were to leave the EU itself,” he added.

Upon a question about Turkey-EU model, Fox said the customs union locked the U.K. into too close alignment with the EU having to follow the bloc's rules without having the ability to settle.

"We have made very clear that we do not want to be in the customs union with the EU," he said.

"After 45 years, we want to have an independent trade policy, which we think customs union would not allow us to have.

"We want to be free to set the terms and conditions of the trading relations we have around the rest of the world," he added.

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