Turkey continues to look for ways out in foreign trade. One of these ways is free trade agreements. At a time when we do a significant part of our trade with Europe, Turkey wants to turn Britain's departure from the European Union (EU) into an opportunity. For this purpose, our Trade Minister, Ruhsar Pekcan, took an important step to turn the crisis into an opportunity after a fast traffic call. She signed a free trade agreement with her British counterpart.
We spoke with Osman Okyay, Chairman of the Turkish Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), about the contribution that this agreement, signed on January 1, 2021, will make to the Turkish economy.
What is the status of trade between Turkey and the United Kingdom?
As we know, the United Kingdom is Turkey's second largest export market after Germany, and also among the countries where Turkey has the highest foreign trade surplus. Bilateral trade has so far had a legal infrastructure that has continued under the customs union created by the Ankara Agreement signed in 1963 and subsequently entered into force in 1996. We can share figures from this infrastructure when measuring the pulse of trade. For example, between 2003 and 2019, about 7% of foreign direct investment in Turkey originated from the United Kingdom. Again, while there were 8 UK-based companies in our country in 2000, this figure has increased to 451 companies and an annual total of 11.663 billion $ in 2020. In the last 20 years, the total amount of investment made by UK investors in Turkey has amounted to 165 billion dollars. The largest share of investments is the services sector with a denominator of B, while the industry follows this with 8.
In addition, according to TÜIK, in the first 10 months of 2020, despite the epidemic process, we found that it created a trade volume of 13 billion$. Again, we have left behind a successful year for us by giving a foreign trade surplus at the bilateral level in 2020.
We know that the British have Turkey's preference for high-quality Turkish white goods, automotive and other industrial products, as well as certain agricultural products. I think all this actually paints a dynamic picture in the name of bilateral trade.