Turkey and the United States have been taking concrete steps towards achieving the agreed $100 billon bilateral trade volume, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“The $20 billion trade volume between Turkey and U.S. is below our true potential. We have agreed to upgrade [our trade volume] to $100 billion with [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump in our last meeting, in Osaka. We have begun to take concrete steps regarding this,” Erdoğan said on Sept. 10.
The president’s remarks came during a speech at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, hosting a U.S. delegation headed by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
“I believe the meetings we held with you will contribute to the strengthening of our cooperation,” he stated, addressing the U.S. delegation.
“Turkey and the U.S. have a deep-rooted allegiance. This alliance has been tested from time to time and overcame many incidents. With every problem we have tackled, our allegiance became more clinched,” Erdoğan said, adding tht he had a strong dialogue with Trump.
“We are in contact about problems that concern both countries. We have strong relations at every level,” he said.
Regardless of the turmoil and crisis of its region, Turkey has been protecting its stability while increasing its political and economic power, Erdoğan said.
“According to today’s purchasing power parity, Turkey is the 13th largest economy in the world and the fifth largest in Europe,” he conveyed.
Turkey eyes a free trade agreement with the U.S., the president said. “We have put the free trade agreement talks with my friend Trump, on the agenda.”
The direct investment volume from the U.S. to Turkey has reached almost $12 billion in 16 years, yet these figures are “not enough,” Erdoğan stressed.
“We want more American companies to invest in our country. We are ready to support any American investor who comes to our country,” he said.
Turkish, US trade ministers meet
Meanwhile, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan also met with her U.S. counterpart Wilbur Ross on Sept. 10.
Turkey and the U.S. expect to achieve $100 billion of mutual trade target in a balanced way, Ross said.
“What we anticipate it to consist of with the $50 billion more from the U.S. side to Turkey and $50 billion more from the Turkish side to U.S.,” Ross said during a press meeting held with Pekcan in the capital Ankara.
Highlighting that the target was many times of its current level, Ross said: “So we are anticipating that it would be very balanced and greatly enlarged amount of trade.”
Ross said although the numbers sound very large, it is relatively small compared to the total trade volume of the U.S.
He also noted that the real focus of his 5 day-visit to Turkey was to have immediate delivery of goals that are “tangible, concrete and substantial first steps” which subject to the approval of the U.S. and Turkish presidents that would be announced in connection with the UN ceremonies in New York around Sept. 25.
For her part, Pekcan said the two sides prioritized various sectors such as textile, furniture, marble, automotive, civil aviation, cement, and chemicals to increase bilateral trade volume.
Pekcan and Ross also discussed the issues faced by important sectors, particularly the steel sector in Turkey. The Turkish minister said that she shared suggestions with her U.S. counterpart.
The two sides decided to set up sectoral committees under the chairmanship of countries’ trade ministries, Pekcan said. Pekcan reiterated the importance of mutually removing obstacles to achieve trade target.
“We mentioned the barriers in sectors such as iron and steel, the results of our removal from the Generalized Preferences System [GSP], and possible measures to be implemented in automobile sector,” she said, adding: “We have passed our demands and suggestions to the U.S. side.”