Turkey, US aim to reach $75B trade volume, trade minister says


The U.S. and Turkey are seeking to boost bilateral trade more than three-fold to $75 billion from just over $20 billion, Turkey’s trade minister said Tuesday.

Part of the effort is planned to include a tariff-free high-tech cooperation zone in Turkey, Ruhsar Pekcan told a gathering of business leaders in the U.S. capital.

“This free zone will have the advantage additionally to the existing incentives for the high-tech investment and the high-value-added activities as well,” she said. “I invite all American high-tech companies to invest there either alone or together with Turkish companies.”

Pekcan is part of a Turkish delegation visiting Washington, including defense chief Hulusi Akar, and presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak also took part in the delegation, but departed Monday.

Pekcan said meetings between the Turkish delegation and their U.S. counterparts were “very fruitful” at the White House on Monday.

“We all agreed to strengthen our trade relations,” she said. “Our aim is to open every cooperation opportunity to Turkish companies and to American companies.”

The minister also expressed concern over recent developments in the U.S.’ trade policies, especially about the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, and thanked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for supporting Turkey’s stance in this regard.

The U.S. announced its intention to terminate preferential tariff systems for Turkey and India which are aimed at bolstering the trading prospects of developing nations.

Turkey had criticized the decision, saying that it would also negatively affect small and medium-sized enterprises and manufacturers in the U.S.

In February, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to enhance economic ties.

Albayrak was hosted by Trump at Oval Office, alongside with U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnunchin and Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner to discuss the steps for boosting cooperation.

In his address at the business conference, Albayrak noted existing strains in bilateral relations between the NATO allies but said they should not “prevent us from looking to the future with a positive outlook”.

“Let us avoid threats of sanctions and games of brinkmanship and work on creating a realistic yet positive agenda,” he said.