Chris Gaunt, President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, said: “Over the next 2 years, the agreement will be renegotiated to include more sectors and give more opportunities to both Turkish and British companies. The areas we want to focus on will be financial services, agriculture, technology. We see that UK companies are seriously looking at Turkey as an alternative to their suppliers in Southeast Asia.”
While the commercial relations between the UK and Turkey continue unabated, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries is planned to be negotiated in the next 2 years to include more sectors.
According to the information compiled by the AA correspondent, after the European Union (EU) countries signed the Brexit Agreement on November 25, 2018, the UK left the EU on January 31, 2020, with the approval of the British parliament.
In order to prevent commercial losses that may occur after Brexit, the UK signed an FTA with the EU first on 24 December 2020, and secondly with Turkey, its important trade partner, on 29 December 2020.
According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute, while Turkey’s exports to England increased by 28.2% in the January-September period compared to the same period of the previous year, reaching approximately $9.7 billion, imports from this country increased by 4.5% to $4.2 billion in the said period.
Chris Gaunt, President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (BCCT), made an assessment on the state of Turkey-England trade and economic relations and possible developments.
Gaunt said that due to the FTA signed between Turkey and the UK after Brexit, the trade relations of the two countries were not affected by this situation.
Stating that this is a continuity agreement, Gaunt said, “There is a clause in the STA that will actually develop and improve the agreement. Therefore, in the next 2 years, the agreement will be renegotiated to include more sectors and give more opportunities to both Turkish and British companies. That’s a big plus.”
Gaunt stated that the trade ministers of the two countries will meet in the next 6 to 8 months.
Referring to the developments in bilateral trade since the signing of the STA, Gaunt said that shortly after the agreement was signed, the business slowed down due to the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, and trade continued despite the negative events.
“This was just about the effects of Covid-19. There is no appetite to increase our trade between Turkey and the UK,” Gaunt said.
Pointing out that England is Turkey’s second-largest export market, Gaunt said, “This is something we will continue to develop and I hope the UK will be Turkey’s largest export market in the future. FTA is a strong platform on which we will build our trade between the two countries.”
“THE AREAS WE WANT TO FOCUS ON ARE FINANCIAL SERVICES, AGRICULTURE, TECHNOLOGY”
Regarding the reasons for the planned updates to the STA, Gaunt said:
“I hope we can include areas that offer great potential for both countries in the new FTA negotiations. The areas we want to focus on will be financial services, agriculture, technology. The technology sector in Turkey is growing very fast and is becoming an important power for Europe. Therefore, the potential for Turkey and the UK to expand their trade is still huge. We want to create an environment where we can realize this potential.”
BRITISH COMPANIES’ INTEREST IN “TURKEY”
Pointing to the interest of British companies in Turkey, Gaunt said that they received requests from companies that are seriously interested in Turkey as an alternative to Southeast Asia and China.
Gaunt stated that the importance of production in nearby regions has increased with the Covid-19 outbreak and said:
“Having a closer location, with shorter delivery times and greater flexibility, obviously draws the attention of UK companies to Turkey. Turkey has a well-educated workforce with a strong production infrastructure. Technology is becoming a much larger part of the way Turkish manufacturers work. In other words, Turkey offers a great opportunity and alternative to the Far East and especially to China. We see that British companies are seriously looking at Turkey as an alternative to their suppliers in Southeast Asia.”
Emphasizing that Turkey’s potential is very high when considering its impact on the region in terms of trade, Gaunt said that they recommend companies in England to get closer with Turkey.
Source: Sabah / Translated by Irem Yildiz