Turkish, US officials agree to set S-400, F-35 dispute aside, focus on trade

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 23.07.2019 00:21

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said she agreed with her American counterpart U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to set aside the S-400 and F-35 disputes and focus on ways to increase the bilateral trade volume between the two countries to $75 billion.

That target was set by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump in February.

Pekcan was answering a question about to what extent sanction threats by the U.S. would affect foreign trade after the acquisition of the S-400s during her meeting with reporters on Sunday.

Pekcan visited the U.S. in late April to attend the 37th Annual Conference on Turkey-U.S. Relations in Washington, where she met with Ross.

She said the main topics in her Washington visit were the S-400 and F-35 issues, two things that have been nagging bilateral relations for over a year.

According to the minister, Turkish and American trade administrations have formed working groups, consisting of companies from both countries.

Accordingly, the groups have developed common strategies for how to increase trade volume to $75 billion in the four meetings that they have held so far.

Pekcan further noted that the fifth meeting of the group will be held soon, adding, "They have supported our companies in entering the market and reaching distribution areas there. In return, we have assessed their requests from us."

Meanwhile, during a bilateral meeting with President Erdoğan on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in late June, Trump proposed that both countries should aim for $100 billion in bilateral trade to take advantage of their huge economic potential.

In 2018, the Turkey-U.S. bilateral trade volume was $20.6 billion, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). While Turkey's exports to the country came to $8.3 billion, its imports totaled $12.3 billion.

TurkStat data also showed that in the period January to May this year, the bilateral trade volume between the two NATO partners was $7.8 billion. U.S. purchases of Turkish products were $3.4 billion, while exports were $4.4 billion.

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