Turkey could grab the opportunity to attract hundreds of U.S. companies leaving the Russian market over Moscow’s military offensive against its neighbor, Ukraine, a senior U.S. business executive has said.
Myron Brilliant, executive vice president and head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said after a signing ceremony on March 15 that Turkey has a very good chance to have investments in Russia diverted to its own market by improving its business infrastructure and digital framework.
“Some U.S. companies have left Russia, while some others suspended their operations and activities. These numbers are growing much faster than we had expected,” he said in Ankara, where he signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and met with two ministers.
“Not only the U.S. companies, but Japanese and European companies have also been following suit. Turkey could attract these investments and trade to itself … It should provide an environment for investments, of course, but we see that with the difficulties caused by the invasion, some opportunities have emerged for Turkey to benefit from,” he said.
The leaders of Turkey and the United States should talk on some “issues” that have been on the agenda for some time, he also said.
“We also renewed our annual MOU with TOBB, reiterating our commitment to enhance the U.S.-Turkey commercial partnership in key areas like defense, digital, health, information technologies, tourism, energy, infrastructure, and supporting women in business in Turkey,” he said on Twitter.
Jeff Flake, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, recalled that some 1,100 U.S. companies were active in Russia before the war in Ukraine.
“Some of them have said that they would move some of their operations to Turkey. I also think that American companies should consider the Turkish market,” Flake said.
On his part, TOBB head Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu invited U.S. investors to make Turkey “an investment and trade base.”
“Turkey and the United States should sign a free trade agreement or a preferential trade agreement,” he said, calling on the U.S. authorities to take Turkey out of the “Section 232” list in order to decrease tariffs on Turkish steel products.
Recalling that Turkish and U.S. construction companies have jointly worked on projects in third countries, Hisarcıklıoğlu said the U.S. market should also be opened to Turkish contractors.
Turkish Deputy Trade Minister Mustafa Tuzcu noted that the United States was Turkey’s second-biggest trade partner after Germany last year, with a trade volume of $31.4 billion.
“Lifting duties on steel and aluminum products is an important expectation of ours from the United States. We also predict that the U.S. private sector would also support this expectation. We have expressed that the positive dialogue between the United States and Japan, South Korea and the European Union could also be established with Turkey,” he said.