British Export Minister Malcolm Offord stated that with the new free trade agreement, which will start negotiations next year, economic relations with Turkiye will gain momentum with new sectors, especially Fintech, green energy and telecom.
Offord answered the questions of an Anadolu Agency correspondent regarding his visit to Turkiye last week and the negotiations to start between Turkiye and the UK for the renewal of the free trade agreement.
Reminding that he attended the signing ceremony of the £680 million financing provided by the UK Export Finance Agency (UKEF) to Ronesans Holding’s high-speed electric railway project connecting Mersin with Adana, Osmaniye and Gaziantep last week, Offord said that he had a lot of meetings.
Offord stated that negotiations on the renewal of the free trade agreement between the two countries are an important agenda item in these meetings.
Stating that the current agreement with Turkiye mainly covers industrial products, Offord stated that expanding the scope of this agreement offers serious opportunities for both parties, “I see opportunities in many areas, especially in telecom, financial services, digital trade.”
The current trade volume is £23.5 billion
Sharing the information that the trade volume between Turkiye and the United Kingdom increased by 30% last year, Offord continued as follows:
“Turkiye is currently one of our top 20 trade partners, ranked 18th and rising. Currently, the trade volume is at the level of €23.5 billion. Two-thirds of this volume consists of Turkiye’s exports to the United Kingdom, and one-third of the United Kingdom’s exports to Turkiye.”
There is also momentum and goodwill to grow these relationships. Negotiations (for a free trade agreement) will begin next year. I think these negotiations come at a good time for both countries.”
Offord said that there is a well-educated young population in Turkiye who have embraced the digital economy, thus creating a new generation of businesses.
Noting that the industrial products in the current agreement will always have a place in bilateral trade, Offord said, “However, I think that the real growth in our economic relations will be in the 21st-century sectors such as telecom, Fintech, green energy and advanced industry.”
“The next natural step is to start investing more”
Stating that he attended the 16th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF’23) last week, Offord said that British companies and SMEs there work together with Turkish companies:
“British SMEs (in the defense industry) and Turkish manufacturers are very well connected. If we are cooperating in industrial production, the next natural step will be to start investing more. I hope we will see more British investment in Turkiye. Likewise, I had an interesting seminar with many Turkish investors interested in the offshore wind energy sector in the UK. So I think there’s a lot of common ground here.”
Noting that Turkish contracting companies carry out important works abroad, Offord stated that the relationship between Turkish contracting companies doing business in third countries and UKEF may also increase and said, “I see a very bright future where we can work together in third countries outside of Turkiye.”
Source: AA / Prepared by Irem Yildiz