US to present proposals to boost trade with Turkey
From the tariffs that Washington has imposed on Turkish steel to the potential purchase of U.S. Patriot air missiles, the package is expected to cover both civilian and military aspects of bilateral trade between the two countries. The Turkish side is expecting the package to include its participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, but that will be a huge challenge given the U.S. government’s decision to remove Turkey from the program following its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system.
While the decision to suspend Turkey’s participation was taken last July, U.S. officials did not close the door on Turkey rejoining the program in some form, should it reverse the decision to buy the S-400, which does not seem to be an option as parts of the anti-missile defense system have already arrived in Turkey.
The Trump administration’s intention to present a package of proposals was conveyed by its new envoy to Ankara during his talks with Turkish officials. The U.S.’s new ambassador to Ankara, David Michael Satterfield, presented his credentials to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 28 and since then has been visiting high-level officials.
While the two countries’ presidents have set the target of $100 billion - five times the current trade volume, economic relations have been hit by a series of decisions. U.S. President Trump imposed a 25-percent tariff on steel, which was retaliated against with a reciprocal decision from Turkey. The U.S. decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 is also a serious blow to economic relations as Turkey produces more than 800 parts of the fighter jet. While the U.S. administration has justified this decision by expressing concerns that F-35s operating in close proximity to the S-400 could give Russian technicians crucial insights into spotting and tracking the stealthy F-35, the U.S. president has shown an understanding to Turkey’s arguments for choosing the Russian system.
Trump blamed the previous U.S. administration for refusing to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey.