In the first year of U.S. President Donald Trump in office, the trade volume between Turkey and the U.S. increased 16.6 percent in the first 11 months of 2017 compared to the same period the previous year, reaching $18.7 billion despite tensions in security and diplomacy.
According to Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) data, Turkey's exports to the United States rose 32.4 percent in the first 11 months of 2017 compared to the same period the previous year, reaching $7.9 billion, while imports from the U.S. rose 7.2 percent to $10.8 billion.
As of November 2017, the foreign trade volume exceded the $17.5 billion in 2016. Turkey's exports to the U.S. had reached $6.6 billion in 2016, while imports from that country were around $10.9 billion.
Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) Turkey-U.S. Business Council Chairman Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ talked to Anadolu Agency (AA) about Turkish-U.S. economic relations in the first year of Trump's presidency.
Yalçındağ said economic relations between the U.S. and Turkey are comprehensive and deep-rooted. "From time to time, it can be seen that political-diplomatic relations and economic relations move in different gears," Yalçındağ said. "The first year of Trump's presidency was a little bit like this. Economic relations were overshadowed by political fluctuations, and there were discouraging problems between the two countries such as visa problems."
Recalling that Trump had promised to boost the U.S. economy during his campaign, Yalçındağ said that those who did not take this seriously were wrong.
The Turkish economy has strong export potential, while the Turkish business world possesses the flexibility and reflexes to quickly evaluate every opportunity, he added.
"As such, we positively responded to developments in the U.S., and our exports grew rapidly with a really good performance, as proven by the figures," Yalçındağ said, adding that Turkey's exports to the U.S. reached approximately $8 billion as of November, an increase of 32.4 percent compared to the same period last year. "I estimate that in 2017, our trade volume with the U.S. will exceed $19 billion. These are numbers that encourage us and urge us to work harder," he noted.
TurkStat data indicates that Turkey's exports to the U.S. continuously rose from 2012, while imports decreased.
Turkey's exports to the U.S. were around $5.6 billion in 2012, $5.64 billion in 2013, $6.34 billion in 2014, around $6.40 billion in 2015 and some $6.62 billion in 2016. On the other hand, Turkey's imports from that country were about $14.13 billion in 2012, $12.61 billion in 2013, $12.73 billion in 2014, $11.14 billion in 2015 and $10.91 billion in 2016.
New dimensions should be added to the reviving commercial relations between Turkey and the United States, Yalçındağ suggested, underlining that boosting direct investments, which almost came to a halt in 2017, should be the biggest priority.
Yalçındağ pointed out that despite fluctuating political relations between the two countries, Turkish companies' appetite for direct investment in the U.S. continues to increase and that Turkey is the ninth fastest rising country among countries investing in the U.S. and that Turkish firms are creating thousands of jobs in almost every state from Texas to California, from New York to Florida.
Yalçındağ said despite all the problems in its region, the Turkish economy is expected to close 2017 with a growth rate of around 7 percent. "I believe that American companies will certainly appreciate the opportunities that this dynamic economy has to offer," he said. "Of course, we have to pave the way for the business world and avoid the obstacles that I would call ‘artificial,' such as the visa problem we experienced in 2017. The Turkish-American alliance is too important to be sacrificed to short-term problems."
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