The UK Ambassador to Ankara Dominick Chilcott has announced that his country looks forward to signing a comprehensive agreement with Turkey to ensure a bright future for bilateral trade relations and joint investments between the two countries.
The British official praised the free trade agreement signed between his country and Turkey on 29 December, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described as the most important trade deal that Ankara has signed since the Customs Union agreement with the European Union (EU) in 1995.
The agreement guarantees to maintain the existing trade relations between the two countries and increase trade exchange, in addition to cancelling taxes on exports to avoid financial losses for both sides.
Britain is Turkey's second-largest trading partner after Germany, and to which Ankara exports precious metals, vehicles, textiles and electrical appliances.
Chilcott explained that Turkey and Germany have roughly the same demographic density: "Except that the UK's trade volume with Germany is eight times bigger (or more) than its commercial exchanges with Turkey."
He considered that: "This significant gap is not only caused by the advanced technology that Germany has. If Britain and Turkey signed a larger and more comprehensive free trade agreement, then we can talk about a bright future for trade and investment between the two countries."
The British ambassador added: "During the coronavirus crisis, the UK, like many other countries, came to realise that they had become too dependent on China as a supplier. The UK wants to find countries that are geographically approximate and can produce European-standard products at a relatively low cost, and Turkey has all these advantages. The UK could source many of its needs from Turkey."
According to Chilcott, reducing carbon emission is an important goal for his country. He is determined to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, noting that this goal will have a significant impact on the country's foreign economic and trade relations.
The UK official stated that British companies have started searching for countries from which they could import the necessary equipment.
He added that if Turkey makes the required reforms and preparations, it would be of interest to green technology investors.
On whether Brexit could have an impact on what the UK thinks of Turkey's endeavour to join the EU, Chilcott explained that full membership in the European coalition is still a strategic goal for Ankara.
He stated: "Turkey believes that there are gaps and problems in the Customs Union agreement with the EU, and therefore it wants to upgrade it. Likewise, the free trade agreement between Turkey and the UK can be updated if any problems arise within the current deal."
The customs agreement increases the possibility of establishing robust trade ties between the two countries over the next ten years and will also provide tremendous economic benefits to the UK because Turkey is economically strong outside the EU.