The United Kingdom is aiming to establish a free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey before the end of 2020, Ambassador to Turkey Sir Dominick Chilcott said at the fourth UK Technology Conference on Feb. 17.
“I see negotiating a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and Turkey as one of the most important goals for our relations in 2020,” Chilcott said, adding that the UK is Turkey's second largest trade partner.
London will use its newfound "freedom to maneuver" in trade to create free trade policies and free ports around the country and impose new tariffs to promote free trade. Chilcott noted that the UK will go the route of simplification and rounding down to ensure the maintenance of their trade relationships.
"Two sovereign nations on the edge of the EU"
Noting that the two countries are similar in being "two sovereign nations just on the edge of the EU, albeit on opposite ends," Chilcott added that 90 percent of the two countries' trade passes through the EU, underlining the importance of establishing a free trade agreement.
"I see this conference as an important step in deepening and developing our relationships after Brexit," said Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank at the conference, adding that a Trade Working Group organized by the ministry has met six times so far.
Turkey and the UK will be collaborating on projects in the fields of technology, digital transformation and entrepreneurship, Varank noted, adding that Turkey has created financial incentives for foreign investors.
"This year, we are expecting major investments in chemistry, petroleum chemicals, transportation technologies, mining, defense and electronics," Varank said.
Varank noted that investments that will further Turkey's 2023 Industry and Technology Policies will be prioritized.
"We want to increase the ratio of manufacturing in national revenue to 21 percent, and the ratio of middle and high tech goods to 50 percent," Varank said.
"Turcorns" take the lead
Turkey is the biggest automotive exporter for the European Union, Varank noted, adding that the country's electric car manufacturing is up to par with global standards.
"Turkey's automobile has the potential to become a unicorn coming out of our country. We've Turkified the term, calling it Turcorn," Varank said, adding that they are aiming to manufacture 10 "Turcorns" by 2023.
Varank invited large companies' research and development teams to work in Turkey, saying they will benefit from the investment incentives the country offers, such as paying for personnel, consultancy and general expenses.
"In that context, I invite the United Kingdom's global giants to Turkey."