Ruhsar Pekcan, T.R. Minister of Trade, attended the 38th American-Turkish Conference.

Ruhsar Pekcan, our country’s Minister of Trade, attended the video conference for the 38th American-Turkish Conference organised by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), Turkey-USA Business Council (TAİK), and the US Chamber of Commerce. In his speech, Pekcan stated that Turkey values its partnership with the USA and is ready to improve its relations with the country. Emphasizing the transformation seen all around the world, Minister Pekcan said that the ties between the two countries are strong enough to overcome these challenges. “The mutual trade volume, which was $6.4 billion in 2002, increased to $21.1 billion in 2019. Today, around 2,000 American companies operate in Turkey with $12.8 billion worth of investments. Turkey’s direct foreign investment in the USA is around $6.8 billion and increases every day,” he said.

We Are Committed to The Goals of Our Leaders

He stated that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the US President Donald Trump agree on the need for stronger cooperation in all areas, especially in trade, and a trade volume goal of $100 billion has been set for mutual trade relations and they were working closely with Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce, to achieve this goal.  Pointing out that they determined the sectors to prioritise and talked about the expectations of both sides, he added: “We reflected the perspective of the private sector on the process and are very glad to work together. We are committed to the goals of our leaders. I believe that we need to move quickly towards our $100 billion trade volume goal. The eagerness and the contributions of the two business worlds will be critical in this regard. It is of great importance to increase cooperation between the two business worlds.”

We Need to Take Steps to Improve the Trade Climate

The Minister also warned to take steps to improve the trade climate and continued: “Additional taxes laid on steel due to the steel and aluminium investigation (Section 232) and Turkey’s termination from GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) have major and negative impacts on our efforts to achieve our common goals. Despite the extensive dialogue between our Ministries, we haven’t received a positive response to our request to include our limited number of products in the GSP program. Similarly, we expressed our willingness to negotiate for a reasonable quota offered to many other countries on steel and aluminium (Section 232) measures, and there was no progress in this area either.”

We Must Work Harder Together

Also stating that Turkish and the US companies have long been working together in areas such as the defence industry, he added that Turkey and the USA need to work closer and harder together in the upcoming months. “I should state that signing a bilateral agreement to mutually make trade free in certain sectors in the short or medium term will add significant speed to our trade relations,” Pekcan said.