Bordering the cradle of civilization, the former Ottoman Empire, now modern day Turkey, has undergone a multitude of transformations, most notably, its radical change into an emerging market economy. Turkey has become an influential economic power in the region as well as across the global landscape. Modernization efforts within Turkey have brought about industrialization and diversification, where Turkey has positioned itself as an apt trading partner.
The bilateral relationship between the United States and Turkey has allowed Turkey’s economy to diversify and strengthen. Their shared membership in NATO continues to permit the inclusion of Turkey in transatlantic trade.
It has also established itself as an economic partner of the United States. For decades, these countries have had close economic ties, and in recent years, despite challenges to the global economy, these ties have grown stronger. From 2009-2019, U.S. goods exported to Turkey have risen 41.4 percent, while U.S. goods imported from Turkey have risen 190.3 percent. Equally impressive, the number of U.S. companies operating in Turkey has increased by 50 percent since 2007. As of 2019, Turkey was the United States' 28th largest goods export market, while Turkey was the United States' 32nd largest supplier of goods imports.
These growing ties are no accident; they result from concerted efforts between the U.S. and Turkey to increase bilateral trade and investment. The US and Turkey have agreed to work towards increasing bilateral trade to $100 billion annually. Exports and imports with Turkey in 2019 totaled $6.1 billion. US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey has allowed US-based companies to increase employment and use Turkey as an international business hub. Hence, the US represented 7.3% of Turkey’s FDI, the second highest, and Turkey is the 9th-fastest-growing source of US FDI in 2019. The majority of FDI in Turkey includes manufacturing, wholesale trade, and depository institutions. The efforts of trade and investment between the US and Turkey have created and sustained 68,000 jobs in 2015.
Investment and commitment by U.S. companies has had a cascading effect on the whole region. Strong U.S.–Turkey bilateral relations, trade, and investment not only bolster the economy, but can also enhance international security and combat terrorism. In fact, during his visit to Turkey in 2019, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross explained “Our commercial partnership has transcended the inevitable ups-and-downs of our geo-political alliance, and it is instrumental to our continued engagement with the Turkish government” (U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Turkey, 2019).
With the range of goods that Turkey produces, trade with the United States is primed to continue on a steady rise, as it has been since 2000. For the benefit of both countries’ economies, the key is to ensure that it does.
Turkey’s unique relationship with European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has allowed Turkey’s economy to expand beyond the local region. The inclusion of Turkey in transatlantic trade and investment includes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Program (TTIP). TTIP provided Turkey the opportunity to create economic growth and sustain relationships with EU and NATO nations. The expansion of various industries in Turkey, Europe and North America ensure the ability for transatlantic nations to form multilateral and bilateral trade agreements moving forward.