Turkey-U.S. Economic Partnership Commission 8th Meeting, 08 May 2012, Ankara

Building on a successful year of 34% growth in Turkey-U.S. bilateral trade, representatives from the Government of Turkey and the Government of the United States of America met on May 8 in Ankara for the eighth meeting of the Turkey and United States Economic Partnership Commission (EPC). The meeting reflects our shared commitment to strengthening our strategic economic partnership and continuing to support increase in trade and investment between our countries. The EPC is a key component of the Turkey-U.S. Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation.

This eighth meeting of the EPC focused on further deepening our partnership on a wide range of issues related to trade, investment, and sectoral cooperation. The two delegations explored opportunities to enhance collaboration in the energy, infrastructure, financial, and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors and furthered our joint endeavors with respect to entrepreneurship and innovation. Highlights:

Collaboration with respect to the Istanbul financial center and entrepreneurship. Building on our current cooperation on the Istanbul financial center project, the two delegations agreed to expand collaboration to support the deepening of capital markets and introduction of new financial products. Furthermore, collaboration between Turkey and the US on entrepreneurship and Istanbul financial center lead to the successful second Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in late 2011 in Istanbul. The delegations also noted the continued activities related to the State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), the Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) and the Global Initiative on Science and Technology (GIST).

Expanding Energy Sector Cooperation to include energy research and the use of energy efficient technologies. The two sides discussed the potential for cooperation between U.S. and Turkish researchers and scientists on issues including electric vehicles, fuel cells, concentrated solar thermal technologies, and other areas. The U.S. briefed the Turkish delegation on the Near Zero Zone industrial energy efficiency initiative in Izmir, which is already demonstrating the significant return investments in energy efficiency technology and processes can bring Turkish businesses. The delegations also discussed ongoing and potential future commercial partnerships between U.S. and Turkish firms in the energy sector, including in the areas of smart grid, geothermal, coal bed methane and nuclear energy.

Opportunities to expand cooperation in the infrastructure and ICT sectors. The delegations added discussion of these two new sectors to the EPC agenda, including areas where the U.S. experience with infrastructure development could be helpful as Turkey looks to make large scale infrastructure upgrades over the next five to ten years. The Turkish delegation briefed the U.S. delegation on Turkey’s impressive plans to expand the Information Communications and Technology sector, and the two sides discussed how to build cooperation between the two.

Ongoing consultations in areas involving intellectual property rights, the pharmaceuticals industry, and agricultural products. The delegations held constructive discussions on a number of issues important to economic relations between our two countries. The delegations welcomed the establishment earlier this year of the U.S.-Turkey Copyright Working Group, which provides a consistent forum for discussion of copyright-related issues. The delegations continued to discuss progress on pharmaceutical industry and agricultural issues.

Promoting investment in both countries. The Turkish delegation briefed the U.S. delegation on Turkey’s recently announced package of investment incentives, and the two sides discussed how to bring more potential American investors to Turkey. The U.S. delegation briefed the Turkish delegation on the SelectUSA program to attract foreign direct investment to the United States.

Commitment to collaborate to promote economic development in third countries, particularly those in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The delegations discussed ongoing efforts in both countries to support the transition countries of the Arab Spring. In particular, the EPC focused on encouraging our respective private sectors to enter into joint ventures in the energy and infrastructure sectors. The United States expressed appreciation for Turkey’s participation as a regional partner in the Deauville Partnership for Arab Countries in Transition.

Deputy Under Secretary for General Political Affairs Ambassador Halit Çevik led the Turkish delegation, which included representatives of the Ministry of Development; the Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources; the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning; the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology; the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications; the Capital Markets Board; the Energy Market Regularity Authority; Foreign Economic Relations Board; Information Technologies and Communication Authority; Investment Support and Promotion Agency; the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey; the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization; the Undersecretariat of Treasury; the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey Turkish Contractors Association; Turkish Eximbank; Turkish Patent Institute and Turkish Standards Institution.

Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez led the United States delegation, which also included Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Susan Kurland and representatives of the Departments of State, Commerce, Energy, and Transportation; the Office of the United States Trade Representative; and the United States Trade and Development Agency.

In line with the decision to convene the EPC twice a year and in accordance with the bilateral political will to give momentum to Turkish-US economic relations, the two delegations agreed to meet again in the fall in the United States.