Trade remained strong despite pandemic and Brexit: Envoy


SIR DOMINICK CHILCOTT, the British ambassador in Ankara, said that the statistics covering the post-Brexit period have not been released yet but preliminary data show that trade between Turkey and the UK has emerged relatively unscathed, and he expects trade between the two countries to return to pre-pandemic levels quickly. “There is an evaluation provision in the current Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that foresees the start of negotiations for a comprehensive FTA before the end of 2022,” he said.

Chilcott said this assessment will cover areas such as trade in agricultural products, services, investment and the digital economy, among other areas. “Although the UK and Turkey are net exporters of services, services only make up 20% of our bilateral trade. Recently, there have been significant investments in services, for example, Getir has taken its place in the UK market. Taking advantage of the potential in this area will strengthen trade in both directions,” he said.

“There is a great interest in Turkish goods in our country,” said Chilcott adding that the completion of the FTA in a few months ensured the continuity of trade. “The new FTA also removed uncertainty, something businesses on both sides were rightly concerned about. Businesses will continue to benefit from tax-free access for exports from both sides.”

In other areas, Chilcott expressed a desire for increased cooperation. “•ur Prime Minister defined the fight against climate change as his top international priority,” he said. “We will host the C•P26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November and we hope the international community will make commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the world’s largest economies, including Turkey. To be honest, our joint plans are currently far behind this target. Turkey has made significant progress in the areas of clean energy and zero waste. But like many of us, Turkey needs to do more. The efforts of European countries to decarbonize and move towards clean economies present an opportunity for Turkey, but also carry some kind of risk. A Green Turkey with renewable energy at its core will further strengthen its position as Europe’s manufacturing hub.”

Turkey is one of the favorite destinations of British holidaymakers but it is still on the UK’s red list. Responding to a question about when restrictions will be lifted, Chilcott said: “Evaluations are made by scientists and public officials. The system was designed as impartially as possible. As soon as we get over the pandemic, it won’t be long before we catch up or even exceed pre-Covid levels.”

Sir Dominic Chilcott, The British Ambassador in Ankara

The efforts of European countries to decarbonize and move towards clean economies present an opportunity for Turkey, but also carry some kind of risk.


‘Turkish manufacturing industry is competitive’

“We should encourage more cooperation in advanced manufacturing. Turkey has a highly competitive and efficient manufacturing industry and is well integrated with European supply chains. Our businesses have already established investments and partnerships in Turkey for this reason. For high-value manufacturing sectors such as the pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace, chemical and electrical/electronic industries, I see enormous potential for close collaboration with Turkish businesses. We see a great opportunity for a much more liberal approach to agriculture. I look forward to seeing more Turkish food products on the shelves of UK supermarkets.”

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