12/11/2009

Turkey and USA turn new page on trade

Hurriyet Daily News – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington, D.C. signaled a new page in economic relations between the two NATO allies, as top officials from both sides revealed details of a “new framework mechanism.” Speaking at a press conference in the US capital, Turkey’s State Minister in Charge of Economy and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan announced the establishment of a new body that will include two top officials from both sides. The new mechanism, which includes US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, US Trade Secretary Gary Locke, Babacan and Turkish State Minister Zafer Çaglayan, aims to advance bilateral trade and investment. The four-member grouping will meet regularly “in Washington, Ankara or Istanbul”, said Babacan, according to the Anatolian news agency. The idea of this new body was floated during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Turkey, said Kirk, thanking James Jeffrey, the US Ambassador to Ankara, for his contributions. The first meeting of the “mechanism” will be held in spring in Washington, D.C, while the second one will be held in Turkey, again next year. “This mechanism will be a tool to expand bilateral trade and investment and create new job opportunities for both sides”, said Locke. “The trade volume in 2008 reached USD 15 billion, but much better can be done.”