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The American continent is composed of US, Canada and 33 Latin American countries in which there are many peculiarities and differences. On the one side, there are the largest economies of the world, on the other, there are developing countries.
The Minister of Economy have launched a strategy towards the American continent in order to enhance economic and commercial relations. Within the framework of this strategy, Turkey has a two pillared approach to the American continent at the economic level; one is targeted North America while the other is targeted Latin America.
The US and Canada are having a huge potential. Moreover, they are important trade partners of Turkey. Latin America is a big market regarding its population, area, natural resources and economic growth. Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico are the prominent countries in the region, which are important emerging markets in the world.
In American continent, there are a number of regional integration mechanisms, including North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the ANDEAN Community, Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Due to geographical distance and lack of awareness, economic and commercial relations between Turkey and the American continent countries are not reflecting the true potential. However, in the course of time, an important momentum has been reached. The trade volume of Turkey and the American continent was realized as 30.6 billion $ in 2011, with 25% increase compare to 2010 (22.8 billion $). In 2011, Turkish exports to the region was amounted 7.9 billion $, whereas imports to Turkey was amounted 22.7 billion $, thus in 2011, the trade deficit was realized as 14.8 billion $.
Turkey has different strategies towards the American continent. Towards the US, Turkey established a market access strategy on a state-based approach. In this regard, 6 states were chosen (New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Georgia and Florida) by taking into account of market size, trade potential and the GDP of the states, in order to improve the bilateral relations between Turkey and the US. Towards Latin America, Turkey has aimed to increase awareness about Turkey, Turkish firms and Turkish products, by using many tools like fairs, trade missions, business councils, Joint Economic Commission mechanisms, new commercial offices and agreements.
Turkey has completed a Free Trade Agreement with Chili (2011), and the negotiation process is going on with MERCOSUR, ANDEAN, Colombia and Ecuador. Moreover, with Canada the negotiation process has been launched.
In order to complete the legal framework of bilateral commercial and economic relations, Turkey has signed 13 Agreement on Economic and Trade Cooperation with countries in the continent. (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Cuba, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Jamaica). With the Agreement on Economic and Trade Cooperation, Joint Economic Commissions have been established in order to enhance bilateral economic and commercial relations. Moreover, Turkey is in the negotiation process to conclude an Agreement on Economic and Trade Cooperation with two more countries in the American continent (Republic of Dominic and Venezuela).
The Commercial Counselor’s Offices of Turkey in the American continent are in Washington D.C. (USA), Ottawa (Canada), Mexico City (Mexico), Caracas (Venezuela), Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Bogota (Colombia), Lima (Peru) and Havana (Cuba). Moreover, there are Commercial Attaché’s Offices of Turkey in New York, Los Angles, Houston, Chicago and Boston (USA), Toronto (Canada), and Sao Paulo (Brazil), plus there are liaison offices of Turkey in Miami, San Francisco and Seattle.