US-China trade war an opportunity for Turkey, says minister

Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan says the issues between the US and China will create a significant opportunity for trade in various sectors. (AFP pic)

ANKARA: Turkey sees an opportunity to boost trade with the United States amid Washington’s trade war with Beijing, the Turkish trade minister said on Tuesday, reinforcing an ambitious goal of quadrupling the bilateral trade to US$100 billion a year.

“We have determined that the issues between the US and China will create a significant opportunity for trade in various sectors,” Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan told a joint press conference with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

“We have expressed to the US side our readiness to provide goods,” she said.

Pekcan added that trade and investment would be the main topic when US President Donald Trump and Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan meet during the United Nations General Assembly later this month in New York.

On Saturday, Turkey asked the United States to lift trade barriers during talks aimed at sharply increasing bilateral commerce.

Washington and Ankara’s goal of US$100 billion in trade a year comes despite the prospect of US sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

The United States says trade with Turkey totalled US$24 billion in 2017, with the US surplus standing at US$1.5 billion.

The White House said in May it was ending a preferential trade agreement with Turkey, saying Turkey’s level of economic development meant it was no longer eligible for the support.