UK's Badenoch to push Turkey for upgraded trade deal during visit

London looking to boost UK-Turkish trade ahead of talks later in the year on an upgraded deal covering services and digital

UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch speaks during a visit to Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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UK Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch is visiting Istanbul as part of government plans to upgrade the trade deal it has with Turkey.

Goods are now covered by the current agreement, but not services, digital or data.

Ms Badenoch said “Turkey presents huge opportunities for UK businesses” and investment in manufacturing, technology and transport is expected to be discussed during the visit.

While in Istanbul, the Conservative MP will meet her Turkish counterpart, Omer Bolat.

They are expected to discuss how to boost UK-Turkish trade ahead of the launch of talks later in the year on an upgraded deal covering services and digital.

In the coming year, the government has said it wants to progress services-focused deals with countries such as Turkey, Switzerland and South Korea as well as the Gulf region.

“I’m delighted to be in Turkey ahead of talks to upgrade our existing trade deal to make it fit for the 21st century,” Ms Badenoch said.

“The UK is the second biggest exporter of services in the world – UK lawyers, accountants and architects are in high demand across the globe.

“With its major economy and strategic position, Turkey presents huge opportunities for UK businesses. And I’m excited to start discussions on ensuring our new trading relationship with Turkey unlocks those opportunities.”

While in Istanbul, Ms Badenoch will visit Turkish Airlines, which recently contracted UK aerospace company Airbus to supply them with 220 planes.

For much of the fleet, the wings will be designed in Bristol and built in northern Wales, with Rolls-Royce supplying engines made in Derby.

The Secretary of State will also meet UK and Turkish investors, including Ford and Mott MacDonald, to discuss how the UK and Turkey can boost investment in sectors such as manufacturing, tech and transport.

“Turkey holds tremendous growth potential through the rising Middle East to Asia growth corridor,” TheCityUK managing director Nicola Watkinson said.

“The UK is well-positioned to forge innovative and forward-looking trade agreements and be part of these exciting opportunities.

“This visit not only demonstrates the UK’s commitment to fostering stronger economic relationships but also sets the stage for an ambitious Free Trade Agreement that promises benefits for our industry.”

Simon Harrison, head of strategy at Mott MacDonald Group, said: “Turkey continues to play a key geostrategic role in the world and shares the UK’s position of being a large economy adjacent to the European Union, and hence a partner with whom trade ties matter.

“The UK-Turkey relationship is warm and long-standing, with many complementarities – for example UK professional services and Turkish construction are both world renowned, and these trade discussions provide an opportunity to build from a position of strength for both nations.”

Updated: January 05, 2024, 12:01 AM