Turkey’s economic, trade ties to improve when Trump takes office: Association
Güneş Kömürcüler - ISTANBULTurkey’s bilateral economic and trade relations with the United States will fare better than they did over the past four or five years when U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office in early 2017, according to the head of the Turkish-American Business Association-U.S. Chamber of Commerce (TABA-AmCham).
“I am optimistic about the bilateral ties between Turkey and the U.S. during the Trump administration, as many people are. There has been an obvious slowdown in U.S. actions abroad for a while. This will end soon ... Trump knows the Turkish economy as a foreign investor in Turkey,” TABA-AmCham President Bora Gürçay told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“Besides, Trump’s views about how the U.S.’ policy on Iraq and Syria are not very different than Turkey’s view, as Trump wants to share the burden of foreign issues with U.S. allies, rather than treating the U.S. as the biggest watchman … His views about the future of the planned trans-continental trade agreements also parallel Turkey’s views,” Gürçay said.
“In the light of these factors, I believe that ties between the two countries will likely be better in the next period than they were in the last couple of years,” he noted.
Gürçay noted that the bilateral trade volume was at around $19 billion, which is very low when the real potential is considered.
“Trump is not very keen on multinational trade deals. In this vein, the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) and similar deals will be kept on the shelf during his term. Turkey should use this term to turn into an advantage. There are now 10,000 tariffed goods which are the subject of Turkish and American trade, and some 3,000 of them are customs-free, but only 700 or 750 of them are traded efficiently. We need to increase this figure in a bid to boost our bilateral trade ties,” he said, adding that the association had already worked in cooperation with both Turkish and U.S. authorities in this area.
The association is also working on a plan to increase investment relations between both sides’ small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“We have been working on a comprehensive program to match Turkish and U.S. SMEs, mainly in the sectors of IT, energy, automotive parts and textiles to build cooperation with each other. For instance, we are relating which investment subsidies are offered by, for instance, Texas to any Turkish SME in an Anatolian province. We are set to make a detailed presentation regarding the issue to the new U.S. administration as well,” he said, adding that a number of conferences would also be held in the U.S. to tell investors there more about Turkey’s economic incentives.
Girçay said members of TABA in the U.S. had planned around $350 million in investments in Turkey for early 2017.
“They actually made their plans for the end of this year, but they had to postpone them due to the surprising results of the U.S. presidential elections. They now plan to realize their investment plans in February or March 2017. One of these companies plans to make a greenfield investment in Turkey and another will position Turkey as a regional hub for its operations,” he said.