World Bulletin/News Desk
US Vice President Joe Biden said, "Erdogan and Obama agreed to begin efforts for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Turkey and the US."
Speaking at the round table meeting organized by US Chamber of Commerce with participation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Biden said that he had been an admirer of Erdogan for a long time.
He added, "I think he has done an absolutely marvelous job in an incredibly difficult neighborhood. And I think that our security and our economic prosperity are completely tied to and with the progress that Turkey is making and continues to make."
Biden stated that the promise of Turkey, and its significant potential, continued economic growth were reason for every American to take some solace because it was overwhelmingly in the naked self-interest of America.
Defining the visit as "a critical moment in one of the most important relationships between Turkey and the US", Biden said "I can't remember a time when world events so powerfully brought both of our countries together in North Africa, Syria, Afghanistan and many places in between."
Reminding that in 2009 a framework for strategic and economic commercial cooperation was established between Turkey and the US, Biden said that the bilateral trade volume was increased by 75 percent.
He further expressed that Turkish steel company was planning a plant in Louisiana, a Turkish-German conglomerate was investing in a US plant to create steel pipes for shale gas, while American GE was working with Turkish company to take locomotive kits manufactured in Pennsylvania.
"Our companies aren't just competing; they're making things together," said Biden, and added, "Ask GE, Amgen, 3M. Ask Sikorsky Aircraft, which is finalizing a $3.5 billion deal to supply Black Hawk helicopters to the Turkish aerospace industries. Still, there is so much more potential in this relationship."
Stating that areas like energy, education, technology also carried immense potential for cooperation, Biden said, "We are prepared to compete. We want to be engaged. We have companies with unique expertise in unconventional and renewable energy, ready to compete for contracts as Turkey develops its domestic supply of energy. Our tech and pharmaceutical companies are ready to do business and be business partners in a fast-growing sector of the Turkish economy."
US welcomes more Turkish students
Welcoming more Turkish students to the US, Biden remarked cooperation in education as another area for cooperation, and said, "Bright, young Turkish students, including the prime minister's two daughters, who have gone to or continue to study in American universities today than there are for any European country. And we want to welcome more of those students."
Biden touched upon Erdogan's 2023 vision and said that Turkey became 17th largest economy in 2013, while it ranked 26th in 2002.
"The prime minister has set as a goal that by 2023 Turkey will be one of the 10 largest economies in the world. And I have little doubt they'll be able to accomplish that," said Biden.
FTA between Turkey and US
Biden announced that Erdogan and Obama agreed to work toward a FTA, and said, "We will not only keep Turkey informed of every step of the negotiation with the EU, but we believe that if in fact, we can get by some of the divisions and the differences we have with regard to free trade agreements, that if we can get there before the time we settle the EU new trade agreement, that it will be a great opportunity for Turkey."
Later, US President Barack Obama gave a dinner in honor of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Red Room of the White House on Thursday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Undersecretary of Turkish Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan attended the dinner in Washington.
On the US side, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Tom Danilon also attended the dinner at the White House.
Erdogan walked through the park near the White House after his program at the US Chamber of Commerce and took souvenir photos with Turkish and non-Turkish citizens.
Earlier in the day, Erdogan also met the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner. The meeting was closed to the press.Last Mod: 17 Mayıs 2013, 09:23