The long and pristine coastline of Antalya, Turkey’s tourism crown jewel is getting ready to host a different sort of clientele, as President Recep Tayip Erdoğan plays host to the culmination of the country’s yearlong G20 presidency with the Leaders’ Summit on Sunday and Monday.
However, this end is just a beginning. Eyes will continue to be on Turkey beyond this meeting and long after the sand settles in Antalya. The country that borders Europe, the Middle East and Asia is a strategic U.S. ally and dynamic regional hub for many of the 1,600 U.S. companies that do business in Turkey. Likewise, Turkey will continue to play a leading role in international trade and security engagements under a new government that is set to debut before the end of the year.
On the trade front, Turkey’s plate will be filled with accelerating key economic reforms and modernizing its Customs Union with the European Union. U.S. companies and investors in Turkey are keen to see the new government return to a successful growth model with world class standards that can boost inward investment projects, enhance the competitiveness of domestic industries, and ultimately raise the country’s standing as one of the world’s largest economies.
An upgraded Customs Union agreement would help Turkey derive more direct benefit from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently under negotiation between the United States and the EU. It could help Turkish companies and workers unlock countless trade and investment opportunities with the United States.
The U.S.-Turkey economic relationship holds vast potential that can be reached through common ground solutions to market access and regulatory barriers. The bilateral trade volume, which has held steady at $19 billion, is one of the lowest with the United States among G20 countries. These types of reforms would help realign Turkey’s trade policy with the higher standards being established in new trade accords such as TTIP, extending to novel areas such as regulatory cooperation and digital commerce, while increasing the export growth for Turkey’s thriving domestic industries, both to the United States and beyond.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Turkey Business Council will be leading a business mission and investment conference to Turkey in the first half of 2016 to demonstrate the private sector’s support for the country’s continued growth. We hope that for the next four years Turkey will take the time to implement much-needed structural reforms that will pave the way toward a more robust commercial and economic relationship with the United States.
The U.S.-Turkey Business Council represents approximately 50 companies from a number of sectors including consumer products, healthcare, finance, ICT, logistics and more. The council recently launched its Travel & Tourism working group in Miami. The group highlights the significant growth potential in one of Turkey’s leading sectors evidenced by the more than 10 direct flights between the United States and Turkey each day.
After President Barack Obama and President Erdoğan meet in Antalya, the U.S.-Turkey Business Council looks forward to continuing the private sector’s strong relationship with Turkey as it enters this new era.