Turkey-US bilateral trade volume increased by 3.5% year-on-year despite the pandemic, Turkish Deputy Trade Minister Riza Tuna Turagay said during a teleconference on the future of Turkey-US trade relations hosted by the Turkish Heritage Organization.
Turkey’s bilateral trade and business relations with the United States have improved despite the coronavirus pandemic, the senior official said on Thursday.
“Trading volume increased by 3.5% year-on-year during this extraordinary period as countries struggled to negotiate with their partners”, δeputy Trade Minister Riza Tuna Turagay said.
The USD 100 billion bilateral trade target set by the two countries has no political motives, he added.
In June 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump raised the bilateral trade target from USD 75 billion to USD 100 billion.
“Despite the fact that we have seen some ups and downs in our bilateral relations, from time to time, it all concerns trade and business relations”, he said.
“I believe that we must make rapid progress towards the goal. In that sense, it is possible to strengthen the network between our business communities”.
Turagay noted that a free trade agreement between Turkey and the US on mutual trade liberalization in certain areas would give a healthy impetus to bilateral ties.
However, according to him, before such an agreement was reached, some issues had to be resolved.
“We have created the customs union with the EU, so we have to follow in the footsteps of the EU. That is one of the limitations”, he explained.
“Tariffs on Turkish steel products and Turkey’s removal from the general preferential trade program were also considered restrictions by Ankara”, he noted.
“So we have to solve these problems and the next step would be a free trade agreement”, he concluded.
In March 2018, Trump decided to impose an additional 25% tariff on steel imports in an effort to protect national security.
In August, Trump also increased tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey to 50%.
Ankara reacted by imposing equal tariffs on some US imports.
In May 2019, the US reduced tariffs on steel imports from Turkey to 25%.
Although Ankara tried to discuss the move with Washington, it proved fruitless and appealed to the World Trade Organization.
In July, the US Court of International Trade ruled that Trump’s decision on Turkish steel was illegal and that the president had no power to make any legal changes./ibna