UK and Turkey to pursue trade deal to boost services

Tue 18 Jul 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
Trade News

UK-Turkey flags

The UK has announced its intention to start trade talks with Turkey in an effort to deepen relations between the countries.

Negotiations on an updated free trade agreement (FTA) are expected to begin next year after a statement today confirming there was scope to improve the existing trade deal.

The current deal, which rolled over after Brexit, is restricted to trade in goods and UK negotiators will attempt to expand the relationship to cover digital trade and services, reports the Independent.

The announcement follows a call between UK business and trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, and Turkish minister for trade, Ömer Bolat, last week, where they committed to negotiating a new deal.

New deal

The UK-Turkey Joint Committee, consisting of the UK’s chief negotiator and officials from both sides overseeing the current agreement will meet today (18 July) in Ankara, to formally conclude the review of the current agreement and move towards renegotiation of the FTA.

A consultation is expected to begin in the autumn to determine the UK’s negotiation objectives, which are expected to focus on expanding access to Turkey for UK service providers.

The current agreement contains a review clause that committed the UK and Turkey to review the current relationship.

This work began last year with both partners concluding there would be merit in broadening and deepening the trade relationship.

Cheaper food imports

There could also be scope for securing cheaper imports from Turkey, particularly of Mediterranean fruit and vegetables and products such as olive oil, reports National News.

Lord Offord of Garvel, minister for exports at the Department for Business and Trade, will visit Turkey later this month to discuss other potential opportunities.

Britain’s trade with Turkey was worth £23.5bn in 2022, but heavily favoured Turkey, with the UK importing £6.5bn more than it exported, according to government figures.

Turkish exports to the UK include vehicles, clothes and electric machinery, while the UK sells power generators and metals to Turkey.

The announcement of the intention to pursue a new trade deal with Turkey comes days after Badenoch signed Britain up to the CPTPP trade bloc, reports the Express.

Since leaving the EU, the UK has rolled over 68 trade deals it had while in the Single Market and signed new deals with Japan, Australia and New Zealand.