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New Agreement and Bilateral Talks Signal Continued Growth of U.S.–Turkish Commercial Ties
On January 28, 2010, in Istanbul, Turkey, Michael Camuñez (left), assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, presented two officials of Turkish Airlines—Hamdi Topçu (center), chair, and Temel Kotil (right), president—with a certificate of appreciation for the company’s commitment to U.S.–Turkish trade and its purchase of several billion dollars worth of planes from Boeing. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)
A recent visit to Ankara and Istanbul by Michael Camuñez, assistant secretary for market access and compliance, underscored the importance of enhancing economic and commercial links between the United States and Turkey.
by Anita Ramasastry
Recent economic changes in Turkey have been dramatic and positive. Turkey is the fastest-growing country in Europe, which presents significant opportunities for U.S. companies to partner with Turkish companies in a wide variety of sectors, including energy, transportation, health care, and construction. The U.S. government’s Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee recently identified Turkey as one of the priority markets ripe for U.S. trade and investment—the only market in Europe to be so designated.
In recognition of this important economic relationship, Michael Camuñez, assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, traveled to Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey, on January 24–28, 2011, to lead policy discussions on bilateral trade and investment and on enhanced economic and commercial cooperation between the United States and Turkey. Jose Fernandez, assistant secretary of state for economic, energy, and business affairs, joined him in the discussions.
Turkey: Trade Facts and Figures
In 2010, U.S. exports of goods to Turkey totaled $10.5 billion, making Turkey the 26th-largest export market for the United States. This figure marked an increase of 49 percent over 2009. The same year, imports from Turkey stood at $10.5 billion. Official U.S. foreign direct investment in Turkey stood at approximately $6.3 billion by the end of 2010.
For more information about trade with Turkey, or to obtain advice on entering the Turkish market, contact the Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA-TRADE (1-800-872-8723); www.export.gov. For more information about the Department of Commerce’s Invest in America program, visit www.investamerica.gov.
One of the main purposes of the visit was to sustain the momentum of the recently launched U.S.–Turkey Framework for Strategic and Economic Commercial Cooperation (FSECC). This bilateral effort, announced in 2009 by President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was officially launched in Washington, D.C., on October 19, 2010.
The FSECC establishes an annual forum for senior-level officials from both countries to discuss commercial and economic issues. It also provides for a number of initiatives and agreements in energy, trade and investment promotion, regulatory cooperation, scientific and agricultural collaboration, and intellectual property rights.
“The strategic framework is critical to the future of both of our nations,” noted Camuñez in a speech he gave to the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce on January 28, 2011. “The world has never been as competitive as it is today, leaving us both facing the same fundamental challenge: How do we make our economies, and our people, more competitive globally?”
Promoting Foreign Direct Investment
During the visit, a memorandum of intent was signed between the Department of Commerce’s Invest in America program and Turkey’s Investment Support and Promotion Agency. The memorandum promotes cooperation on foreign direct investment activities and commits both countries to providing mutual assistance to investors by connecting them with investment and industry experts in each country. This fulfills a commitment the two governments made at the inaugural FSECC meeting in October 2010.
Camuñez clarified the benefits to both countries of a growing bilateral economic relationship: “There is more to our bilateral trade numbers than meets the eye. U.S. exports to Turkey often advance Turkey’s own export goals. Take General Electric’s joint venture with [Turkish company] Tülomsaş. … This partnership is taking locomotive kits made in Pennsylvania, assembling them in Turkey, and then exporting them to the Caucasus and Central Asia, where Turkish firms have been very successful. Jobs and wealth are created in both of our countries as we play to the strengths of American technology and Turkish marketing and service—a ‘win–win,’ as we say in America.”
Anita Ramasastry is a senior adviser to the assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance unit.
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