TURKEY is “very close” to signing a post-Brexit free trade agreement with the UK covering manufactured goods, agriculture and services, the country’s Foreign Minister has revealed.
Mevlut Cavusoglu has been in London this week meeting Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He said in principle talks have been no differences over a potential deal, but that some technical issued need to be ironed out. Turkey’s Foreign Minister told the Financial Times: “It’s going very well and we are very close to finalising it. If you look at the volume of our bilateral trade, 95 percent of it is industrial products, and we agreed on that, and five percent is agriculture and services.
“We agreed already with the UK that in the post-Brexit era we will increase our bilateral trade; in volume we set a $20billion bilateral trade target.
A senior official at the UK’s Department for International Trade said talks over an FTA with Turkey are “progressing well”.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena will meet Turkish counterparts for further talks next week.
The Brexit transition period ends on December 31, with Boris Johnson and his Government chasing several lucrative trade agreements with a number of key allies, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Turkey.
Britain is Turkey’s second-largest trading partner after Germany, and the agreement of a free trade deal would be crucial for Turkish manufacturers, particularly carmakers, textile factories and white goods producers.
The Office for National Statistics has said trade between the UK and Turkey totaled £18.8 billion last year, with £7.9billion in British exports, and £10.9billion of Turkish imports to the UK.
There are more than 2,500 UK companies operating in Turkey including BP, Shell, Vodafone, Unilever, BAE Systems, HSBC, Aviva and Diageo.