On Wednesday, October 11, THO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges in Turkey (TOBB) hosted Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Mehmet Simsek, who is in Washington for the World Bank and IMF annual meetings, for a roundtable discussion and off-the-record Q&A session with American business leaders.
The Deputy Prime Minister covered a wide range of economic issues on the state of Turkey's economy, which included fiscal policy, monetary policy, as well as labor and education reform efforts. Simsek also focused on the state of the U.S.-Turkey business ties.
The Deputy Prime Minister emphasized numerous domestic and regional existential threats that have emerged in a relatively short period of time and how the Turkish economy remained remarkably resilient in the face of these challenges. Simsek pointed out that instead of going into a possible prolonged recession, Turkey was able to deliver a “reasonably well” GDP growth rate of 3.3% throughout 2016.
The Deputy Prime Minister reassured American business leaders that with several major economic reforms such as labor market, high-tech start-up investments and taxes on the way, the future of Turkey’s economy was bright and its growth rate would remain strong. Referring to the geopolitical challenges, “we are looking forward to get a break. Turkey is ripe for private sector investment and open for business” said Simsek.
Simsek also addressed the current visa spat between the U.S. and Turkey. He emphasized Turkey’s desire for the matter’s quick resolution, and downplayed its significance. The “United States and Turkey have been friends, allies, partners for over half a century,” he said. “That relationship, this partnership, I think it’s strong enough to weather such crises."