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Washington, D.C. - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today inaugurated a new process of engagement with the government of Turkey on economic and trade issues. The new policy structure, to be known formally as the "Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation" (Framework) was unveiled on the occasion of the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House.
During a joint press conference with their new Turkish counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Locke, who will co-chair U.S. participation in the Framework process, stated that the Framework aims to help enhance the already robust interaction that takes place between the two governments on economic issues. U.S. Government agencies currently work with Turkish counterparts in the economic arena through the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, the Economic Partnership Commission and the Energy Working Group, as well as through numerous ongoing contacts between officials at all levels. The new Framework will ensure regular coordination and review of these many activities at a senior political level.
"I am very pleased to be able to help kick off this new engagement with Turkey on economic matters," said Ambassador Kirk. "U.S. economic ties with Turkey are strong. However, they have room for significant growth, given Turkey's development as a market in its own right, and its emerging role as a regional business hub. President Obama and President Gul in April committed to finding new ways to promote bilateral economic relations and we intend to use this new Framework process to advance that goal."
"Launching the Framework will help us to expand our commercial relationship and create opportunities for U.S. workers," said Secretary Locke. "The strong involvement of the private sector is critical to our efforts to increase U.S.-Turkish trade and investment. We hope to obtain private sector input in a formalized way to guide government-to-government discussions."
Turkey is the United States' 39th largest goods trading partner, and bilateral trade has been steadily growing over the last 15 years. U.S.-Turkey two way goods trade totaled $14.6 billion during 2008. U.S. exports of goods to Turkey in 2008 were $10 billion, an increase of 51.1% ($3.4 billion) over 2007, and 262% from 1994. Goods imports from Turkey into the United States were $4.6 billion in 2008, up 0.9% ($41 million) from 2007, and 195% from 1994. The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Turkey was $6.1 billion in 2008. The stock of Turkish foreign direct investment in the United States was $218 million in 2007 (latest data available).
The Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (Framework) will involve participation, on the U.S. side, of a variety of economic agencies, including USTR, the Commerce Department, the State Department, the Energy Department, and others where appropriate. They will work with their Turkish counterparts in the Treasury Undersecretariat, Foreign Trade Undersecretariat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, and other entities to reduce barriers to bilateral trade and investment and otherwise enhance bilateral economic cooperation.
In addition, the Framework envisions greater involvement of the private sector in both countries in the deliberations between the governments. The Commerce Department has proposed establishment of a U.S.-Turkey Business Council (Council) a public-private partnership that will bring together American and Turkish business leaders to identify ways to strengthen economic ties between the two countries. The purpose of the Council will be to make joint policy recommendations to the U.S. and Turkish Governments on strategies for increasing bilateral commercial linkages, improving both business climates, and eliminating impediments to trade and investment.