As the United States and the European Union continue talks of a free-trade agreement, Turkish professionals are debating how this agreement can increase trade between Turkey and the US in a way that benefits Turkey.
There has been a swift, noticeable increase in trade volume between the US and Turkey over the last 10 years, Turkish American Business Association (TABA/AmCham) President Ekim Alptekin said. However, Turkey’s imports from the US, amounting to $14 billion, and their exports to the US, amounting to $5.6 billion, are not enough trade between the two countries. Alptekin said it is important for Turkey to improve commercial relations with the US because their trade with Europe is declining.
Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) Vice President Ahmet Ciğer noted that under the free-trade agreement, Turkey would be subject to the same rules as Europe while importing goods from the US, but the US could impose extra tariffs on exported goods from Turkey. “However,” Ciğer said, “since trade relations between the US and Turkey are not at the desired level, the damage would not be that fatal.”
For the past two years, the US was ranked Turkey’s fifth largest trading partner, and Turkey was the 32nd largest goods trading partner for the US in 2011. The top exports from Turkey to the US are vehicles, machinery, iron and steel, and the top imports from the US to Turkey are aircrafts, iron and steel, oil, and machinery.
The two countries also have other shared business ideas. US firms are investing in Turkey because they consider it a springboard to Middle Eastern, and regional markets of the Caucasus and Central Asia, and there is a growing interest from Turkish infrastructures and energy companies to join the U.S. market.