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Cablegate: Big Pay-Off From Small Business Project

VZCZCXRO4187
PP RUEHDA
DE RUEHAK #5673/01 2720458
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290458Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9060
INFO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1381
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1164
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005673

SIPDIS

STATE PASS AID FOR THOMAS MEFFORD
DEPT FOR EUR/PPD AND EUR DAS C. GRAFFY
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL KPAO CVIS BEXP TU
SUBJECT: BIG PAY-OFF FROM SMALL BUSINESS PROJECT


1.(SBU) Summary: Using only $400,000 of USG funding, a small project
between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Turkish counterpart
provided a big bang for the buck for the U.S.: good press, practical
advice to Turkish SMEs, closer ties between U.S. and Turkish
business organizations that should lead to future collaboration,
and an opportunity for Mission outreach. End Summary.

---------------------------
Small But Effective Project
---------------------------

2. (SBU) With $400,000 of Economic Support Fund (ESF) money
appropriated in FY2004, a USAID-administered project has paid
multiple benefits for bilateral U.S.-Turkish relations. The
project, which emerged out of a request from the Turkish side in the
December, 2003 Economic Partnership Commission, focused on helping
encourage bilateral trade and business ties by providing information
to Turkish small- and medium-sized businesses on how to do business
in the U.S. A team from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce managed the
project with cooperation by the Union of Turkish Chambers of
Commerce (known by its Turkish abbreviation, TOBB).

3. (SBU) The centerpiece of the project was a series of one-day
workshops for small business held in five cities around Turkey:
Ankara, Kayseri, Izmir, Gaziantep and Istanbul. The seminars took
place in July and September. The U.S. Chamber pulled together an
impressive array of speakers from the U.S.: representatives of local
U.S. Chambers, U.S.-based lawyers who specialize in Turkish business
clients, logistics and marketing experts, and local Turkish
entrepreneurs in each city who had managed to break into the U.S.
market. John Bachmann, former President of the U.S. Chamber and
current board member, opened each workshop along with a Turkish
Chamber official and a representative of the U.S. Mission. In
Ankara, the Ambassador (see text on post's web site) and TOBB
Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu opened the workshop and in Istanbul
the Consul General opened the eent. At each workshop, consular
officers made presentations on U.S. visa policies and procedures and
FCS described its role in promoting U.S. exports. The workshops
were well-attended, reaching hundreds of businesspeople from around
Turkey, as well as multipliers such as representatives of chambers
of commerce in other Turkish towns. TOBB has put all the
presentations on its web site and the U.S. Chamber is preparing a
practical handbook for use by Turkish businesses based on the
presentations at the workshops.

-----------------
Multiple Benefits
-----------------

4. (SBU) The project helped advance U.S. interests in multiple
ways:

--Positive press story: At a time of unrelenting anti-Americanism in
the Turkish press - particularly in July at the height of the
Lebanon crisis - the coverage of this event provided a welcome
positive story about U.S. government assistance to Turkish small
businesspeople and a desire to deepen bilateral economic ties. The
sessions in Ankara and Istanbul attracted national print and
broadcast coverage, and regional press reported on the events in
Izmir, Kayseri and Gaziantep.

--Supporting U.S.-Turkish friendship: Coming on the heels of the
Secretary and Fonmin Gul's announcement of the Shared Vision and

SIPDIS
Structured Dialogue, these workshops provided a tangible example of
USG interest in deepening economic relations and increasing
business-to-business exchanges. The Ankara workshop provided a
forum in which the Ambassador could emphasize bilateral economic
policy priorities and situate them in the framework of the Shared
Vision. TOBB had long sought the project as a way to establish
their first ever formalized relationship with the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce. TOBB happiness over the project was manifested in their
significant support and in-kind contributions, but perhaps most of
all by the beaming expression on Chairman Hisarciklioglu's face as
he stood by the Ambassador's side at the Ankara event. The project
deepened our good relationship with TOBB on a range of issues,
helping to firm up our support from a pro-American constituency
inside Turkey.

--Deepening bilateral economic ties: The practical information and
business leads in the workshops and the handbook will hopefully lead
to more trade with the U.S. Now that the U.S. Chamber and TOBB have
become well-acquainted the potential for the two organizations and
their individual chambers to facilitate two-way trade is greatly
increased -- a key objective of the program. In addition to the
five workshops, the U.S. Chamber's contacts with the Istanbul
Chamber led to signature of an agreement for the U.S. Chamber to
conduct additional workshops in Istanbul, for which the Istanbul
Chamber is footing the bill.

ANKARA 00005673 002 OF 002

--Outreach opportunity: By holding three of the workshops outside
Ankara or Istanbul, the project provided multi-faceted outreach
opportunities, allowing the U.S. mission, but also U.S. business, to
show the flag in three provincial Turkish cities. Moreover, the
workshops provided a targeted audience to which consular officials
could defuse misconceptions about U.S. receptivity to business
travel. The U.S. Commercial Service presentation attracted Turkish
business people who are interested in importing from the U.S. or
looking for U.S. partners.


McEldowney

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