Cablegate: Turkey's 2006 "Year of the Americas"
UNCLAS ANKARA 007658
DEPT PASS USTR FOR LISA ERRION
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/CRUSNAK
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD BEXP TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S 2006 "YEAR OF THE AMERICAS"
1. (SBU) Summary. Based on the success of similar
regional strategies the GOT has been implementing since
2003, Turkey's Foreign Trade Undersecretariat (FTU) will
focus its 2006 trade promotion strategy on the United
States. With a target of increasing the share of Turkish
goods in U.S. imports, FTU has identified five U.S.
states where the FTU will focus its marketing and
promotion activities, working with professional
consultants specialized in the U.S. market, as well as
with public-private Turkish business organizations like
the Turkish-U.S. Business Council. End Summary.
2. (SBU) In a recent meeting, FTU Deputy Director
General for Agreements Osman Bekaroglu described FTU's
2006 strategy to promote trade and investment relations
with North America, with a focus on the United States.
Turkey has been implementing similar annual strategies
with different world regions since 2003. Bekaroglu noted
that strategies for neighboring countries, African and
Asia-Pacific countries resulted in increases as high as
100 percent in Turkey's trade volume with these
countries. He said the GOT decided to make "the
Americas," and the United States in particular, the
object of their 2006 strategy given the small share of
Turkish goods in total U.S. imports.
3. (SBU) Bekaroglu said the U.S. market's competitive
nature, variety, and extensive distribution network
presented opportunities for Turkish exporters.
Identifying a need to find "entry points" for Turkish
firms, the FTU has identified five target states -- New
York, Texas, California, Florida and Illinois -- in which
the GOT efforts will be focused. Bekaroglu said this
selection was made based on these states' contributions
to U.S. GDP and their relative propensity to import from
Turkey. According to data the GOT collected from the
customs points in these states, 34 percent of Turkish
exports go to New York, 11 percent to Texas, 8 percent to
California, 6 percent to Florida and 3 percent to
Illinois. Bekaroglu said they also selected certain
product groups to focus on, including vegetables, edible
oils, plastics and rubber products, leather apparel and
travel goods, carpets, home textiles, processed marble,
glassware, jewelry, and automobile parts as product
groups with a potential market in the U.S.
4. (SBU) Elaborating on the GOT's plans, Bekaroglu said
the 2006 strategy was only an initial step and that the
GOT was considering some long-term policies to promote
Turkish goods in the U.S. For example, Bekaroglu said
the FTU would increase the number and capacity of its
commercial offices in the U.S., and noted that a trade
representative had been appointed to Los Angeles this
November for the first time. Bekaroglu also said FTU
planned to hire a consultant specialized in the U.S.
market, and to conduct U.S. marketing and promotion
strategies accordingly. The tools the FTU will use
include trade and buyers missions, outsourcing missions,
encouraging participation by Turkish companies in trade
fairs, facilitating cooperation between business
associations and chambers of commerce, and organizing
seminars both in the U.S. on Turkish goods and in Turkey
on the U.S. market characteristics. Bekaroglu emphasized
the important role sectoral "promotion groups" could play
in increasing Turkish products' share in the U.S. market.
Although he didn't say how, Bekaroglu thought the
upcoming Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)
meetings would give a good head start to their strategy.
5. (SBU) Comment: Turkish Treasury officials, who are
responsible for investment, separately told us the
strategy also had an investment leg, but that the precise
modalities had not been identified. It is important to
note that this is Turkey's strategy to increase its
exports to the U.S. and to attract more U.S. investment,
although some officials we met diplomatically described
the strategy target as "improved bilateral economic