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Turkey, UK closer to signing free trade deal

Turkey and the UK are one step closer to a free trade agreement after a new round of technical talks, Britain’s consul general to Istanbul said Wednesday.  “Further progress made on draft UK-Turkey Free Trade Agreement at ninth round of technical talks on 28 July,” Judith Slater said on Twitter. “Aim to put arrangements in place this year for our future trading relationship,” the British Consul General to Istanbul and Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia added.

Turkey and the UK have been in talks to sign a trade agreement for the post-Brexit era and such a deal is “very close”, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu, who visited London for a series of talks earlier this month, told The Financial Times (FT) that negotiations between the two countries on a trade deal covering manufactured goods, agriculture, and services are “going very well" and that they were "close to finalizing it.” 

“If you look at the volume of our bilateral trade, 95% of it is industrial products, and we agreed on that . . . and 5% is agriculture and services,” Cavusoglu said. 

The FT underlined that the UK is Turkey’s second-biggest trading partner after Germany with a trade volume of £18.8 billion ($24.3 billion) and more than 2,500 UK companies are operating in Turkey, including BP, Shell, Vodafone, Unilever, BAE Systems, HSBC, Aviva, and Diageo.

The two countries have been holding trade talks which gained speed after Britain’s exit from the EU on Dec. 31, 2019, and the UK is getting ready to sign trade deals with a few third countries straight after the exit transition period, which is unlikely to be extended beyond the end of this year.

Cavusoglu said Britain and Turkey have agreed already to increase the bilateral trade, adding: "... in volume we set a $20 billion [bilateral trade] target.”

The top Turkish diplomat also said after his meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab that Turkey and the UK would cooperate in many fields after Brexit.

“Even if the UK departs from the EU, it will continue to be one of the most important parts of the European continent.”

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