A bilateral agreement between Turkey and the US to mutually liberalize trade in certain sectors would give a healthy push to bilateral ties, Turkey’s trade minister said Tuesday.
Addressing the 38th American-Turkish Conference, held virtually due to the pandemic, Ruhsar Pekcan said businesses’ enthusiasm and support will be critical to achieve the bilateral trade volume goal of $100 billion.
The target was set by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump in June 2019.
"I believe we must achieve swift progress towards the target. In this sense, boosting networking between our business communities is very valuable," Pekcan said.
But she decried how some US policies squeeze Turkish firms’ ability to enter the US market, such as additional duties on steel and the removal of Turkey from the Generalized System of Preferences.
"We believe these stand in contradiction with the common vision of the two presidents and our efforts and work with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross," Pekcan said.
Pekcan stressed the strong ties between the US and Turkey helping withstand the challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pointing to improving bilateral trade and business relations, Pekcan said in the first eight months of this year the trade volume rose 3.5% on an annual basis.
About 2,000 US companies operate in Turkey with a total current investment of $12.8 billion, while the country's foreign direct investments in the US total $6.8 billion, a figure rising almost daily, she noted.
"Even though we have observed a considerable volume of trade and investment in the last decade, this is not yet sufficient, given the potential of both countries," Pekcan underlined.
She highlighted that Turkey provides ample opportunities for market access and is wholly committed to building a stronger, more competitive, and liberal business environment compared to other developing countries.
"Turkey’s robust manufacturing infrastructure is quite attractive for US investors who may consider diversifying their manufacturing bases," Pekcan said, adding that the country “strongly encourages” innovative, R&D-intensive, and high value-added products and service-related investments.
By Tuba Sahin