Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman at the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC) Press Conference
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
May 14, 2014
Well, thank you, and first let me add my own expression of condolences to the families of the mining accident and our wishes for a speedy rescue of the remaining miners. It’s a terrible tragedy and the thoughts of the American people are with Turkey at this sensitive moment.
Over three years ago, the US and Turkey launched the FSECC to elevate our economic relationship. And today’s meeting I think has been a very full, open discussion of a whole range of issues of opportunities and challenges that we have to deepening that relationship. It’s a sign of the strength of our relationship as countries, as peoples, and really as individuals here, that we have a very open channel of communication that our counterparts and can talk about the full range of issues. Prior to the FSECC, I had the opportunity to sit down with Minister Zeybekci to have a meeting of a high level committee, as the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned. And that high level committee was established last year by President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan, charging us to explore ways to increase trade and investment and deepen the economic relationship between our countries, particularly in light of our T-TIP negotiations.
And I am pleased to announce that that committee has laid out a very robust work program that will work over the next year on concrete steps to improve our trade and investment relationship and to assess the impact on Turkey of US negotiations with the European Union. And we will be working very closely and have an open line of communication with our Turkish counterparts about T-TIP. We’re prepared to keep them informed and update them on a regular basis on those negotiations and to ensure that, as the negotiations proceed, that we are very much recognizing the legitimate interests, and the minister and I will both monitor this process closely and personally.
Turkey’s becoming an even greater economic force in the region and around the world, driving its own development and those of its neighbors. And the US-Turkish relationship is maturing. Over the last decade, connections between our companies have accelerated, growing more complex. US exports to Turkey topped $12 billion last year and that’s up more than three-fold from a decade ago. And those exports mean real jobs for real Americans. And as our economies grow closer together, US investment in Turkey was up 24% over the previous year, reaching $6 billion in 2012. Over the last decade, as the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned, Turkey’s GDP has tripled. And Turkish government plans to triple the economy again, with the goal of making it one of the top ten economies in the world by 2023 – the 100th anniversary of the Republic.
This evolution in Turkey’s economic stature makes it all more natural for the US and Turkey to deepen our economic relationship. And that’s why we are all here working together to unlock opportunities for growth and development, including for small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of both of our economies. We’ve been making good progress, but we clearly can do better and we can do more together. And there remain a number of policies and practices that risk hindering our further business development. We discussed several of those issues this morning and through our government-to-government engagement and with ongoing input from the private sector, we’ll work together with our Turkish friends to take every practical step we can to eliminate constraints to business engagement and to promote fresh ideas so that we can turn our potential into more jobs and more growth for the American and Turkish people.