A bilateral agreement between Turkey and the United States to mutually liberalize trade in certain sectors would give a healthy push to bilateral ties, Turkey's trade minister said Tuesday.
Addressing the 38th American-Turkish Conference, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruhsar Pekcan said enthusiasm and support in business will be critical to achieving the bilateral trade volume goal of $100 billion.
The target was set by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in June 2019.
"I believe we must achieve swift progress towards the target. In this sense, boosting networking between our business communities is very important," Pekcan said.
But she decried how some U.S. policies squeeze Turkish firms' ability to enter the U.S. market, such as additional duties on steel and the removal of Turkey from the Generalized System of Preferences.
"We believe these stand in contradiction with the common vision of the two presidents and our efforts and work with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross," Pekcan said.
She stressed the strong ties between the U.S. and Turkey helping withstand the challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pointing to improving bilateral trade and business relations, Pekcan said in the first eight months of this year the trade volume rose 3.5% on an annual basis.
About 2,000 U.S. companies operate in Turkey with a total current investment of $12.8 billion, while the country's foreign direct investments in the U.S. total $6.8 billion, a figure rising almost daily, she noted.
"Even though we have observed a considerable volume of trade and investment in the last decade, this is not yet sufficient, given the potential of both countries," Pekcan said.
She added that Turkey provides ample opportunities for market access and is wholly committed to building a stronger, more competitive and liberal business environment compared to other developing countries.
"Turkey's robust manufacturing infrastructure is quite attractive for U.S. investors who may consider diversifying their manufacturing bases," Pekcan said, adding that the country "strongly encourages" innovative, research and development-intensive and high value-added products and service-related investments.