Today, Secretary Locke delivered keynote remarks at an event jointly hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON). He discussed the U.S.-Turkey trade relationship and its importance for the strategic partnership between the two countries. Turkey and the United States conducted nearly $15 billion in bilateral trade last year – an almost 40% rise from the previous year, and the most trade ever between Turkey and the U.S. This trade was helped along by Turkey's impressive resilience in the wake of the global financial crisis. Last year, Turkey posted economic growth of over 7%.
To further our trade relationship, In December 2009, President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan launched a new strategic framework to strengthen our economic bonds, the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation. The framework elevates the responsibility for increasing our economic dialogue to the highest levels of both our governments.
That framework has focused on enhancing our business-to-business ties and how we can promote innovation in both Turkey and the United States. Particularly on issues like:
- Promoting renewable energy;
- Incentivizing more entrepreneurship;
- Helping Istanbul fulfill its role as a European and global financial center; and
- Empowering small and medium-size enterprises
To help meet those goals, the Department of Commerce plans to schedule two trade missions to Turkey later this year – one with U.S. oil and gas companies and another with renewable energy companies.