Tackling climate change can help level up Turkey-UK trade ties

Combination of UK's high-tech capacity with Turkish entrepreneurship can do much for future investments, says British exports minister

Aysu Bicer and Yunus Turk   | 26.08.2021
Tackling climate change can help level up Turkey-UK trade ties


Turkey and the UK can do a lot together on issues related to climate change, especially in areas like clean growth technology and electric cars, Britain’s minister for exports said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Turkey’s commercial capital Istanbul, Graham Stuart explained how working together to address climate change can help level up trade ties between the two countries.

He said the British government has been focusing on one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, namely climate change, and seeking to stop the earth from warming too much.

"That is why the UK government will host the UN climate conference" known as COP26, set for this Nov. 1-12, he said.

Pointing to the many highly educated Turks working in engineering and manufacturing who are tackling things like clean growth technology and electric cars, he said British know-how can bring a lot to the table to help their Turkish colleagues.

"Our experience installing electric vehicle charging for instance, will be crucial to deliver climate targets in Istanbul and beyond,” he explained.

“And of course, to create a market for companies like TOGG here in in Turkey producing electric vehicles," he added, referring to Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group, set to roll out its electric car in 2022.

"I see that very good work has been done in the field of advanced engineering in Turkey. I visited TOGG, I met the team there,” he explained.

“I also met the head of a rocket company called Delta V that uses hybrid technology in a way that could be world leading," he added, referring to Istanbul-based Delta V Space Technologies.

According to Stuart, there are a great many areas of current production and future technology where the combination of the UK's high-tech capacity with Turkish entrepreneurship can lead to further investment.

UK can help Turkish startups go global

Touting the UK business environment business environment, saying that it boasts the strongest startup and technology scene in Europe, he added:

"I think you can see why so many major Turkish firms are looking to start or expand their operations in the UK. That's why I think we are a unique base where Turkish companies can globalize."

Stating that technological progress is needed in many areas to cope with problems such as climate change, aging populations, and the future of mobility, Stuart, said that venture capital investments grew in the UK even during the pandemic period.

Broader free trade agreement with Turkey

Stuart also stated that the Turkish-UK free trade agreement reached late last year – just before Brexit went into effect – is important for ensuring ongoing bilateral trade.

"We’re really pleased with that agreement,” he said, but added that neither side is willing to rest on the laurels of the current deal.

"That's why we're going to negotiate an even deeper agreement next year," he said.

He said the trade volume between two countries grew by 70% in the decade up to 2019. when trade between the two countries reached about £20 billion ($27.5 billion).

"We believe that Turkey in the UK, in partnership, can do even more, and build prosperity, success and partnership between both countries in the years to come."

Without the historic free trade agreement, about 75% of Turkish exports to the UK would have been subject to tariffs, causing losses of some $2.4 billion, but the deal avoided that, laying the groundwork for continued vigorous trade.

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