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UK and Turkey open talks on new post-Brexit trade deal

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The Independent | 14 March 2024

UK and Turkey open talks on new post-Brexit trade deal

by Christopher McKeon

The UK has opened trade talks with Turkey in an effort to secure another post-Brexit deal.

Kemi Badenoch, the Trade Secretary, welcomed her Turkish opposite number Omer Bolat to London on Thursday to formally launch negotiations on an updated trade deal to improve UK access to Turkey’s market of 85 million people.

The existing deal, signed in 2021, largely replicates the previous EU deal with Turkey that was negotiated in the 1990s, and the UK is now looking to “modernise” the agreement with a focus on the service sector.

Ms Badenoch said: “I’m delighted to be launching trade negotiations with Turkey – an important economic and strategic partner to the UK.

“We already have a thriving trade relationship that will only get stronger with a new, modernised trade deal that is fit for the 21st century.

“An upgraded deal will give the UK’s world-leading services sector a competitive edge in this growing market and has the potential to support jobs across the UK.”

Trade between the two countries was worth £26 billion in 2022, when despite the UK’s strength in services, the sector accounted for only 27% of British exports to Turkey.

The Department for Business and Trade said the new deal could be a boost for the services sector, while giving British consumers improved access to imported Turkish food such as nuts, bulgar wheat and tomatoes.

Nicola Watkinson, managing director of financial services trade body TheCity UK, said: “Turkey is a strategic gateway between the East and the West, offering vast opportunities for growth and innovation that UK businesses can leverage.

“An enhanced free trade agreement with Turkey that includes services and digital will open up new trade and investment opportunities for financial and related professional services, as well as laying the groundwork for more robust bilateral relations and a frictionless trade environment that benefits both nations.”

Since leaving the EU, the UK has signed three trade agreements covering Australia, New Zealand and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a bloc of 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Negotiations remain ongoing with several other countries including South Korea and Mexico, but progress on deals with countries such as Canada and the United States appears to have stalled.

 source: The Independent