Economy

US-Turkey energy ties seeing 'renaissance'

38th American-Turkish Conference hears that energy sector presents opportunity to boost bilateral relations

Tuba Sahin and Aysu Bicer   | 21.09.2020
US-Turkey energy ties seeing 'renaissance'

ANKARA

The Turkish-US relationship in the energy sector is seeing a kind of renaissance, said participants at a virtual conference on Monday.

Speaking at a program as part of the 38th American-Turkish Conference, James Jones, honorary chair of the US-Turkey Business Council, said:

“There are some least reasons for optimism, because, despite the pandemic and the turbulence in the energy market, the US and Turkey energy relationship is experiencing a renaissance of sorts.”

The energy sector, according to him, has good opportunities to boost bilateral ties, from LNG to pipeline projects in Central Asia and Iraq, to renewables, and lately to Turkey’s recent natural gas discovery in the Black Sea.

Jones said technology and secure 5G can also unlock the level of cooperation between the two countries as NATO allies, as their commitments are to develop secure and safe communication, which is something extremely important.

Another area ripe for cooperation is health care, he said, adding that especially PPEs present a great opportunity.

He stressed: “Turkey is a crucial producer of extremely high-quality medical gear that can be an important source of bilateral trade.”

Reducing China’s influence

As we are living in extraordinary times, this “requires extraordinary cooperation. We should pledge to do that,” Jones urged.

He added that one of the big aims of American politics is a desire to reduce China’s influence in the US’ trading patterns, adding that this has a potential opportunity with US trade and strategic relations.

“In my view, Turkey and the US are viable alternatives to the development projects funded by China’s Belt and Road Initiative,” Jones said.

He concluded by saying both sides should listen to each other with open minds towards the $100 billion trade volume target set by two countries.

The pandemic has reset the global economic order in a profound way, said Nail Olpak, the chair of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), stressing his belief in the resilience of the world economy and the private sector's sound stance to overcome challenges.

Saying that the world is restructuring its supply chains in various sectors, Olpak added:

"There is a shift away from one or a limited supply chain, not just in the US but globally, because COVID-19 lockdowns forced businesses to confront the risks and challenges of over-reliance on a single country for supplies and materials."

Having just one or limited suppliers carries more risk than thought, Olpak warned.

"We know that many firms in America and around the world are looking for alternatives, and Turkey stands ready to step into that role," he stressed.

Touching on Turkey's strong manufacturing base and reputation for high-quality products, Olpak stressed the geographic attractiveness of the country, as the gateway between the East and the West. The world also realized that logistics is not only about distance, he said. 

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