As 2016 comes to an end, countries such as South Africa and Russia have turned to Turkey to strike valuable trading partnerships. Turkey is rapidly developing new technology, such as clean energy, transportation, defense, and consumer electronics, making the country a viable source of innovation for new markets. This past August, Turkey saw $11 billion in exports and $16.55 billion in imports, a trade deficit that has been steadily decreasing throughout the years, due in part to sustainable development of new technology and decreased energy costs. Turkey has been receiving praise for its new developments, most notably in the nuclear and sustainable energy program, as well as for its innovative mobile technology and defense program. These endeavors have worked in stimulating economic growth and piquing global curiosity, opening up Turkey for an increasing number of trade opportunities. Developing Trade in Russia In recent months, Turkey has taken important steps in expanding trade with other nations. This month, as part of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the strategic Turkstream agreement. Turkstream sees the development of a pipeline that allows Russian natural gas to be transported into Turkey and parts of Europe. In return, Russia agreed to assist Turkey with its developing nuclear power program and will provide Turkey with natural gas at a discounted price. This agreement is seen as highly beneficial to Turkey’s economic growth as it provides technology and resources to help expand the latter’s clean energy initiatives. Post-Brexit Expansion Turkey is also in the process of developing a trade partnership with newly “Brexited” United Kingdom. Because the UK is no longer part of the EU, it will become much simpler for the country to negotiate direct trade with other nations. During his recent visit to Ankara, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called for a “jumbo trade deal” with Turkey. He emphasized Turkish technological prowess as a reason for trade expansion, and expressed enthusiasm towards furthering relations. As post-Brexit backlash settles, the countries have committed to renegotiating existing trade agreements. As the UK is already one of the biggest recipients of Turkish exports, such as home appliances and automobile parts, this is an exciting opportunity to spread the influence of emerging Turkish technology. MÜSİAD in South Africa Turkey has also recently taken exciting steps towards increasing trade with South Africa. Following the launch of the South African branch of Turkey’s Independent Industrialist’s and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD), the ruling African National Congress (ANC) expressed enthusiasm towards developing a strategic relationship between the countries. MÜSİAD, a Turkish NGO that expands trade agreements into other countries, specializes in facilitating trade between small and medium-sized, up-and-coming business organizations. Currently, the investment value of companies operating in South Africa adds up to over $500 million. With the expansion of MÜSİAD into South Africa, this number is only expected to rise. Because South Africa accounts for a huge percent of the continent’s exports, Turkey will benefit immensely by creating an entrepreneurial hub in the area. Future Expansion Turkey remains an attractive market for new and emerging technology, and expansion of international trade will be the key to Turkey’s economic success. The country has already established itself as one of the top emerging markets for science and tech-based goods. As foreign relations continue to expand, we can expect to see a flourishing economy in Turkey, as well as new incentives for further developing scientific and technological initiatives. Many countries are now looking to Turkey as a beneficial new trade partner, and a valuable source of innovation. Editor’s Note: The Diplomatic Courier is a proud media partner for the forthcoming 35thAnnual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations, (#USTurkeyConf) organized by the American-Turkish Council (ATC) and the Turkish US Business Council (TAIK). To learn more or RSVP, visit here.
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