The United States and Turkey have for six decades enjoyed a close political and military relationship. But our economic and business partnership has lagged behind until recently. During President Barack Obama’s 2009 trip to Turkey, he and Turkish President Abdullah Gul agreed
to advance our commercial partnership to the level of our diplomatic and strategic defense relationship.
According to U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, we have now begun to see the fruits of this relationship. Bryson spoke at a recent event jointly organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists and the Washington-based think tank, Center for American Progress. He said, “Ankara's goal to push Turkey into the top 10 economies by its centennial in 2023 - the ‘10 by 23' plan - is an entirely plausible target.”
Today, Turkey is the world’s 17th largest economy, with an average economic growth of 5.4 percent between 2002 and 2011. And despite the global economic downturn, the Turkish government expects its economy to expand by another 4 percent in 2012.
Bilateral trade between the United States and Turkey reached a record level of $20 billion last year, and both countries are looking to double that figure by 2014. Over the course of the past three years, the number of U.S. companies registered in Turkey increased by 50 percent from 800 to 1,200, another indication of the strengthening economic ties between the two countries.
Secretary Bryson noted that each country brings to this relationship its strengths: “Turkey has strong access to European markets, as well as those in North Africa and the Middle East. And here in the United States, for example, we have a strong patent system and deep supply chains.”
Together, the United States and Turkey can reach more markets in the Middle East and North Africa, and assist our counterparts in these countries to achieve greater economic stability.
Like all relationships, this one has wrinkles the two countries need to address to facilitate even larger volumes of trade and investment. Greater regulatory transparency, expanded market access, and improved intellectual property rights protection in Turkey will result in a business environment that will attract more bilateral trade and investment.
“With strong bilateral commitments from both of our countries, the future of the U.S.-Turkish economic relationship is indeed bright,” Secretary Bryson said.
“Turkey is coming into its own as a global economic player. Turkey’s time has come. Turkey’s moment is now.”