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Obama Trade Officials, Turkish Counterparts Announce New Initiatives to Strengthen U.S.-Turkey Commercial Relations

October 19, 2010

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today joined their Turkish counterparts, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan for the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC). The leaders announced several new initiatives to boost trade between the two countries that include creating a joint U.S.-Turkey Business Council, establishing a working group on intellectual property rights and organizing two trade missions to Turkey in 2011.

“Expansion of our commercial engagement with Turkey creates a win-win opportunity for both U.S. and Turkish businesses through increased trade and the creation of sustainable jobs,” Locke said. “Turkey is a priority market for U.S. goods and services, and can play a key role in growing bilateral trade and helping us achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling exports in the next five years.”

The FSECC establishes an annual forum for senior-level officials from both countries to discuss commercial and economic issues and work towards enhancing the bilateral relationship.

The Framework stems from a meeting President Obama and Turkish President Gul held in April 2009. In response to a request from President Gul, President Obama pledged to work towards enhancing our commercial and economic relationship with Turkey.

“U.S. entrepreneurs see the seeds of economic opportunity in Turkey. Presidents Obama and Gul pledged to look for ways to open up new trade and investment opportunities that create jobs in both our countries, and today’s meeting has given us a good start along that road,” Ambassador Kirk noted.

During the meeting, the ministers directed the Framework working groups to explore initiatives in diverse areas, such as: energy activities, trade and investment promotion, regulatory cooperation, scientific and agricultural collaboration, and increased communication between the U.S. and Turkish private sectors.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. private sector members of the newly formed U.S.-Turkey Business Council. The Council, made up of senior-level executives from the United States and Turkey, will meet at least once a year to provide policy recommendations to both governments jointly on ways to strengthen bilateral economic relations.

U.S. exports to Turkey increased more than 35 percent during the first seven months of 2010 compared to last year. In 2009, trade between Turkey and the United States amounted to nearly $11 billion. Turkey has been recognized as a “priority market” for expanded engagement by the U.S. Government’s Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee.

Following the conclusion of today’s events a joint statement was released which can be viewed here.