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Improving U.S.-Turkish Economic Partnership


President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (file)

This year's meeting of the EPC focused on exploring opportunities to promote innovation, increasing cooperation in specific sectors and enhancing business-to-business ties.

During a 2009 meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish President Abdullah Gul, the two leaders agreed to establish the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation, or FSECC dialogue, in order to strengthen the existing economic partnership between the two countries.

In early October 2011, representatives of both governments met in Ankara for the seventh meeting of the Turkey and United States Economic Partnership Commission, a key component of economic relations between the two countries, as outlined by the FSECC.

This year's meeting of the EPC focused on exploring opportunities to promote innovation, increasing cooperation in specific sectors and enhancing business-to-business ties. They discussed ways to promote entrepreneurship and encourage bilateral agricultural trade as well as the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.

They reiterated the importance of cooperating in the energy sector, including promoting efficiency and renewable energy, and discussing the possibilities of commercial nuclear power. They agreed to promote economic development in third countries, particularly those in North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and along the Silk Road.

They also discussed progress on establishing Istanbul as an international financial center, which is a top priority of the Turkish government. Some Turkish private financial institutions have already relocated their headquarters to Istanbul.

Turkey is a nation of 78.7 million people, and its population is young, promising rapid growth and an expanding market for U.S. goods. The U.S. also offers an enormous market for Turkish goods and opportunity for the many enterprising Turkish businessmen and women.

Because Turkey straddles Europe and Asia, with flourishing economic ties to its neighbors, it is a valuable partner for exploring new business opportunities in the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa. Together, the United Sates and Turkey can make a significant contribution to rejuvenating the economies of developing and transitional economies, such as those in North Africa, through commercial collaboration.

The United States recognizes the importance of strengthening the economic ties between the two long-time allies to match the strength of their political and military ties. As President Obama said in his 2009 speech to the Turkish Parliament, "Turkey is a critical ally. Turkey is an important part of Europe. And Turkey and the United States must stand together – and work together – to overcome the challenges of our time."

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