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Inaugural U.S.-Turkey Business Council Meets in Istanbul

October 4, 2011

By Mary Trupo, Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration.

The inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Turkey Business Council was held September 19 in Istanbul, Turkey. It brought together 16 U.S. and Turkish business leaders to provide joint policy recommendations to both governments on ways to strengthen bilateral economic relations for expanded trade and investment.

The council was established in late 2010, and is made up of senior-level executives from both countries, who meet at least once a year. The meeting in Istanbul was cochaired by Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of commerce for international trade, and Ahmet Yakici, Turkey’s under secretary for economy.

The importance of improving commercial ties between the two countries was underscored by Sánchez in remarks to attendees, “While our close government-to-government ties are essential, our companies are ultimately conducting the business necessary for economic development. Strong involvement of the private sector is critical to our goal of increasing U.S.-Turkey trade and investment.”

According to the latest trade figures, through July 2011 total U.S. trade with Turkey reached almost $12 billion. This represented a nearly 50 percent increase over the same period in 2010. If this trend continues, full-year 2011 bilateral trade between the United States and Turkey will likely break all previous records. Through July, U.S. exports to Turkey totaled $8.8 billion.

Turkey is a priority market under President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI). Increasing trade and investment ties with this trading partner will help achieve the NEI’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014, supporting millions of U.S. jobs, while also improving the Turkish people’s access to the world-class products and services of U.S. businesses.