British envoy: Turkey-UK bilateral trade exceeds $20 billion target

Published 13.12.2018 01:16
Updated 13.12.2018 08:00

Ankara and London have expressed on a number of occasions, particularly during high-level visits this year, their determination to further improve bilateral ties.

During his three-day visit to Britain this May, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had praised the deepening ties and pointed out trade as a locomotive in bilateral relations.

Erdoğan, British Prime Minister Theresa May and other high-level officials discussed a new post-Brexit trade deal that would boost bilateral trade between Turkey and the U.K. to $20 billion.

"We set our foreign trade target at $20 billion. Now, however, we are over $23 billion. Our bilateral trade has increased by 15 percent," said Dominick Chilcott, the British ambassador to Ankara. He was speaking at the "EU-Turkey Relations Summit," organized by the Aegean Industrialists and Businessmen Association (ESİAD) in İzmir. "The trade balance is in favor of Turkey," added Chilcott, who has been serving in Turkey for nearly a year now.

The bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the U.K. was $16.1 billion in 2017. While Turkey's exports to the U.K. were $9.6 billion, its imports from the country were valued at $6.5 billion. The U.K. is Turkey's second largest export destination after Germany.

He stressed that the U.K. has always supported Turkey in the European Union accession process. "Although we will not be in the decision-making process after Brexit, we will nevertheless continue to support Turkey," he said. He added that cooperation between Turkey and the EU will further increase after Brexit. "The U.K. will make efforts to improve relations further after leaving the EU and will boost relations with G20 countries like Turkey."

Chilcott said that the U.K. needs to find a practice to replace the customs union after Brexit, noting that free trade agreements come to the fore in this context and both countries were ready for this.

Turkey is closely following the Brexit process and is assessing its potential impacts on Turkey. In that regard, Turkish authorities have established working groups to protect the country's interests in the possible post-Brexit period and the high-level Brexit dialogue mechanism.

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