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UK Kickstarts trade talks with Türkiye

Yesterday (14th March) marked the launch of new negotiations between the UK and Türkiye (Turkey) on an updated trade agreement aimed at boosting UK service exports.

The arrival of the Turkish Trade Minister, in London yesterday marked the beginning of trade talks with Türkiye following last December’s call for input, which enabled British businesses to outline their priorities for an agreement.

Türkiye offers enormous prospects for the UK economy, having one of the fastest growing economies (OECD 2022) and a population of 85 million. Strong commercial ties already exist between the two, with UK- Türkiye trade worth almost £26 billion in 2022. According to the UK government, exports to Türkiye in 2020 supported 57,000 UK jobs: 68% of these were in services. In particular, Türkiye’s decarbonisation efforts and increased investment in infrastructure mean that opportunities exist in transport, engineering and technology.

The resulting agreement will replace that currently in place between the two countries and negotiated in the 1990s. In line with current UK trade strategy, it will focus on the UK’s service sector and service exports, which account for 80% of GDP. Though the UK is the second-biggest exporter of service in the world after the US, services only made up 27% of UK exports to Türkiye in 2022. It is hoped a new deal will increase that figure.

The Department for Business and Trade also note that an enhanced trade agreement with Türkiye could offer UK consumers access to Turkish foodstuffs including nuts, wheat and tomatoes. At present the UK is already a key consumer of Turkish goods including vehicles, clothing and electrical machinery.

The first round of formal negotiations is due to take place in summer of 2024.

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