September 7, 2019 / 2:17 PM / 11 days ago

Turkey calls on U.S. to lift barriers to boost trade

The Turkish flag flies at the Embassy of Turkey in Washington, U.S., August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey asked the United States to lift trade barriers between the two countries during talks on Saturday aimed at sharply increasing bilateral commerce, Turkey’s trade minister said.

Washington and Ankara have set an ambitious goal of quadrupling their trade to $100 billion a year, despite the prospect of U.S. sanctions over Turkey’s recent purchase of Russian missile defence systems.

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said she expressed Turkey’s “clear expectation” to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross over the removal of “certain barriers and policies as implemented by the U.S. administration that constitute (an) obstacle to enhancing our bilateral trade.”

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.

Turkey could also face sanctions from its NATO ally over the delivery in July of Russian S-400 missile defence equipment.

Pekcan said she discussed increasing Turkish exports in the civil aviation, automotive, jewellery, furniture, textiles and clothing sectors.

The U.S. embassy said Ross and Pekcan had agreed that raising trade to $100 billion would require hard work on both sides. The United States says trade with Turkey totalled $24 billion in 2017, with the U.S. surplus standing at $1.5 billion.

The two ministers are due to hold further talks in Ankara next week.

Reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Helen Popper

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