Kenan Beulio, the British consul general in Istanbul and trade agent in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, stated that bilateral trade between Turkey and the United Kingdom reached $21.9 billion by the end of 2021 after the signing of the FTA.
Speaking to the local media, Beaulieu said that this figure, which represents an increase of 20.2% compared to the previous year, is a good sign that the flexibility of trade between the two countries after the COVID-19 pandemic shows.
Describing Turkey as an indispensable partner of the United Kingdom, he added: “After Brexit, Turkey and the United Kingdom are in the position of two major European countries that are not members of the European Union. While we attach great importance to our relations with European institutions such as the European Union and the Council of Europe, we participate in extensive work in other parts of the world.”
He stressed that the UK is committed to strengthening the partnership with Turkey and making both countries safer and more prosperous. Beaulieu indicated that bilateral trade could reach $24 billion.
“This means that we must work together for regional stability and security, to become partners in the fight against terrorism, as well as to increase our bilateral trade and investment relations,” he said.
Commenting on bilateral trade, the British diplomat said that demand for Turkish-made goods is high in the UK, noting that the country is second on the list of the 20 countries to which Turkey exports the most.
The new free trade agreement also removed the uncertainty about what will happen after the customs union, which worried companies in both countries.
Beaulieu emphasized that they now want to move forward with this, and that they have already decided to add new sectors to the FTA, including services, agriculture, investment and the digital economy, which are not included in the trade exchange under the EU Customs Union agreement.
investment and cooperation
Noting that there are huge opportunities for UK-Turkey trade relations, Beaulieu said that total exports from the UK to Turkey in this period amounted to £6.5 billion, making Turkey the UK’s 18th largest trading partner.
He emphasized that, in addition to bilateral trade, joint investments between the two countries continue to increase.
He also noted with pleasure the increasing number of Turkish investors who are achieving their global goals through their strategic investments in the UK.
He said: “Companies advancing rapidly in technology continue to favor the UK over their global expansions, and I believe our open and liberal economy, large customer base, flexible and dynamic labor market, workplace-friendly tax system and strong and transparent rule of law will encourage more Turkish companies to invest in the UK.”. Note that the UK’s complementary skills and experience have untapped potential to work together on clean growth and renewable energy.
Emphasizing that cooperation in the defense industry is an important branch of trade relations, Beaulieu said: “Turkey has a highly developed defense industry and its state-supported companies are among the top 100 in the world. It also has young and qualified engineers, which are essential is for the development of this industry. British industry also has many advantages to offer to complement Turkey’s goals in this technology-driven sector.”
He further said: “The defense and aerospace sectors are among other sectors where the two countries can work together to create a stronger economy and increase each other’s competitive advantage, and we are happy to see fruitful cooperation already between the two of us. countries in this vital field. The TF-X pioneering project in Turkey is one of the best examples of this cooperation.”
It is reported that the TF-X project is working on a fifth-generation jet aircraft that has similar characteristics to the F-35 Lightning II, and the Turkish defense industry is working with the British company “Rolls-Royce” for the engine that will power the propel aircraft.
Beaulieu emphasized that digital transformation is a common priority between the UK and Turkish governments as reflected in both countries’ high-level strategic documents, such as their national artificial intelligence strategies, and emphasized that the UK’s technology ecosystem is one of the most promising in the world..
He explained, “Turkey’s strategic location, combining European and Asian influence, makes Turkey a good base for new start-ups in the IT field. It is a major hub with demographic data to support this development and Turkey has a large population, and has a wide range of domain infrastructure.” We have both wired and wireless broadband and there are government policies that support it all. We hope that these factors, when combined with the UK’s support and cooperation, will lead to the development of the Turkish technology sector very quickly.”