UK launches new trade talks with Turkey

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The UK today [Thursday 14 March] launches talks with Turkey on a new, modernised trade deal targeting the services sector set to benefit businesses across the country. 

There are huge opportunities as Turkey has one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD and is home to 85 million people.

The UK and Turkey have a strong economic relationship, with trade between the two worth almost £26 billion in 2022. 

The new trade deal will replace our current one, which was largely negotiated in the 1990s. It will focus on the UK’s strengths in services, which make up 80% of GDP. In 2020, 57,000 UK jobs were supported by exports to Turkey – 68% of which were in services. 

Turkey presents significant opportunities for British businesses, particularly in transport, engineering, financial services, manufacturing and tech, driven in part by Turkey’s decarbonisation efforts and significant investment in rail. 

It’s the latest step in a UK trade strategy targeting trade pacts to boost our services industry exports – including ongoing negotiations with Mexico and South Korea, and MoUs with major US states including Florida and Texas. 

The Trade Secretary launched the talks in London today alongside her Turkish counterpart Minister for Trade Ömer Bolat. 

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: 

I’m delighted to be launching trade negotiations with Turkey – an important economic and strategic partner to the UK.

We already have a thriving trade relationship that will only get stronger with a new, modernised trade deal that is fit for the 21st Century.

An upgraded deal will give the UK’s world-leading services sector a competitive edge in this growing market and has the potential to support jobs across the UK.

Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade – Kemi Badenoch MP. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

The UK is the second biggest services exporter in the world – behind only the US – but services only made up 27% of our exports to Turkey in 2022. The new trade deal could see a huge boost in UK services exports to Turkey. 

It could also give British consumers improved choice and better access to imported Turkish goods such as nuts, bulgar wheat and tomatoes. 

UK businesses such as Deloitte, Diageo and Vodafone have helped to shape negotiation objectives through the public Call for Input, with the first round of negotiations due to take place in the summer. 

Managing Director, International at TheCityUK Nicola Watkinson said: 

Turkey is a strategic gateway between the East and the West, offering vast opportunities for growth and innovation that UK businesses can leverage. An enhanced Free Trade Agreement with Turkey that includes services and digital will open up new trade and investment opportunities for financial and related professional services, as well as laying the groundwork for more robust bilateral relations and a frictionless trade environment that benefits both nations.

Managing Director at Burgess and Leigh Ltd Jim Norman said:

Burleigh is in the early chapters of its’ exporting story to Turkey, but we’re already seeing strong demand opening up. A more open trade deal is going to help smooth that growth by reducing paperwork and delays. Burleigh’s appeal comes from it’s provenance, heritage and authenticity which are appealing to Turkey’s discerning consumers and particularly important in gift giving.

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