Turkey-U.S. Economic Partnership Commission 9th Meeting, 28 November 2012, Washington

Representatives from the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Turkey met on November 28 in Washington, DC for the ninth United States – Turkey Economic Partnership Commission (EPC) meeting. The EPC is a key component of strengthening the economic partnership between the United States and Turkey, as outlined in the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation. The meeting reflects our continued commitment to enhance trade and investment between our countries.

This ninth meeting of the EPC focused on exploring opportunities to promote joint commercial opportunities, develop specific areas of cooperation and innovation, and enhance business-to-business ties. Representatives from both countries discussed a wide range of issues related to trade, investment, and sectoral cooperation, including:

• Specific steps to enhance business-to-business ties, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, and expand areas for cooperation in various fields. The delegations talked about the innovation agenda, including continuing efforts to promote entrepreneurship and business-to-business contacts. The two sides exchanged views on both “U.S.-Turkey Investment Forum” and “Ease of Doing Business Symposium”. The delegations agreed to continue cooperation on SMEs, the Global Entrepreneurship Program and Partners for a New Beginning. There was also broad agreement that respect for intellectual property rights is critical to fostering innovation and the entrepreneurial eco-system.

• Opportunities for expanded cooperation in the energy sector, including energy efficiency, and a variety of energy generation technologies. The delegations discussed efforts to promote U.S. private sector investment in Turkey’s energy sector and to expand U.S. Government engagement with Turkey’s energy agencies. There was agreement that cooperation on energy activities, such as the Near-Zero Zone project to increase energy efficiency in industrial zones in Turkey, has been successful and there was discussion of potential areas for additional cooperation.

• A discussion of next steps on working together to enhance Istanbul as an international financial center (IFC). The delegations reviewed Turkey’s progress on its IFC action plan, and discussed specific areas of further cooperation, including exchanges of regulatory and policy experts, and potential cooperation on measures to make Turkey more attractive for foreign investment in the financial sector.

• Cooperation on promoting infrastructure development. The delegations explored possibilities of cooperation in the field of infrastructure. The delegates discussed sectors such as transportation, information communications, technology and urban development.

• Commitment 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 in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The United States expressed appreciation for Turkey’s participation as a regional partner in the Deauville Partnership for Arab Countries in Transition.

• Discussion of expanding trade and investment in pharmaceuticals. The delegations reviewed progress on steps to increase bilateral trade and investment in the pharmaceutical industry, a fast-growing and innovation based sector.

• The importance of developing policies that encourage additional bilateral trade in agricultural goods. The delegations discussed ways to further expand agricultural trade. Agricultural trade is important for both sides, as both the U.S. and Turkey have substantial agricultural sectors and agricultural experts see the potential for even greater bilateral trade of agricultural products.

Ambassador Mehmet T. Gücük, Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the Turkish delegation, which included representatives of the Ministries of Economy; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Urbanization; Food, Agriculture and Livestock; Transportation, Maritime and Communication; the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey; the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Agency of Turkey; the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization; the Foreign Economic Relations Board; the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey and Turkish Eximbank. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez led the United States delegation, which included representatives of the Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Transportation, the National Security Staff, the United States Trade and Development Agency; the Export Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

In line with the decision to convene the EPC twice a year and in accordance with the bilateral wish to continue momentum in Turkish-US economic relations, the two delegations agreed to meet again next year in the Republic of Turkey.