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The United States is yet to become Turkey’s largest trading partner, despite it being its strongest ally, Turkish President Abdullah Gül has said, encouraging American companies to increase their investments in Turkey.
“We are very optimistic about the bright future of our close bilateral ties and we want to build a bright future together,” he said during a meeting organized by the American-Turkish Business Council.
American companies have so far invested around $8.4 billion in Turkey over the last decade, with the U.S. Turkey’s third largest “sovereign investor,” after the Netherlands and Austria, said Gül.
“Turkey is expected to become the highest growing OECD member between 2011 and 2017. Today’s Turkey is politically and macro-economically stable. Turkey is growing steadily. The banking and finance sectors are managed and monitored well. Turkey’s economy has demonstrated its strength during the latest economic crisis,” he said. Gül also said bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $20 billion in 2012, representing an annual 30 percent increase over the last two years.
“Although the U.S. is our biggest ally, it is not our biggest trade partner,” Gül said.
EU-US free trade deal ‘an opportunity’
The planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement between the U.S. and the European Union will establish the largest free-trade area of the world.
“Some people may have concerns about this project, but I do not. I see this initiative as an opportunity,” Gül said.
He said he had wanted to see the simultaneous finalization of the agreement and negotiations for the establishment of a U.S.-Turkish bilateral free-trade area.
“Thus a cross-range of investors would be able to reach over 1.5 billion people across 50 countries from Turkey in just four hours, as well as 75 million people in Turkey,” he said. Gül added that Turkey might be especially attractive for U.S. IT companies, such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter, given that the use of Internet and smartphones is so common in Turkey. Hurriyet Daily
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