INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Exporters Assembly Chief Pushes for New U.S. Trade

Published: Thu 8 Dec 2005 11:19 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ISTANBUL 002072
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
DEPT FOR EB/TPP/ABT, EB/TPP/MTA/MST, EUR/SE
COMMERCE FOR ITA/OTEXA/MARIA D'ANDREA
DEPT PASS USTR FOR LERRION
TREASURY FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - PLANTIER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD TU
SUBJECT: EXPORTERS ASSEMBLY CHIEF PUSHES FOR NEW U.S. TRADE
DEAL
REF: ISTANBUL 1839
This message is sensitive but unclassified-- not for internet
distribution. This message was coordinated with Embassy
Ankara.
1. (SBU) Summary: Suleyman Orakcioglu, acting President of
the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM) and head of the
Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Association (IKTIB)
raised eyebrows here this week with his announcement to the
press that a new "special trade agreement" is in the works
between the United States and Turkey. The accord, he
predicted, could raise Turkish exports to the U.S. by USD 2
billion a year if it is implemented in 2006. While such an
agreement has long been a priority goal of IKTIB, Orakcioglu
appears to have spoken out of turn, and Trade
Undersecretariat officials contacted by Embassy Ankara
indicate that there is nothing behind the report. End
Summary.
2. (U) Orakcioglu's statement, which was disseminated widely
in several leading business papers, highlighted a
longstanding IKTIB goal: conclusion of a special trade
agreement with the United States that would lower U.S.
customs duties on textile and apparel in exchange for the use
of U.S. inputs. IKTIB officials have raised the idea
repeatedly in meetings with us, and also pursued it during
the recent visit of an American Turkish Council (ATC)
delegation headed by General Scowcroft and Ambassador James
Holmes.
3. (U) In his comments to the press, Orakcioglu noted that
work was going on on the project with the Foreign Trade
Undersecretariat under the leadership of Turkish Trade
Minister Kursad Tuzman, with the goal of increasing trade
volume with and exports to the United States. He added that
Turkish textile producers had presented their case to their
American counterparts, and several "favorable developments"
had occurred. In sum, he concluded, "circumstances are
better than they ever have been for such an agreement," and
there is a possibility for it to be implemented in 2006.
4. (SBU) In a meeting to discuss the agenda for the upcoming
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council
meeting, FTU officials raised the issue of the inclusion of
textiles in special Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs). They
said that while they would be interested in discussing this
subject during the TIFA, they would only want to do so if the
USG were prepared to include textiles in the QIZs. They
understood, however, that this was unlikely and would rather
not spend time on the issue if the USG position has not
changed. They added that they were hearing that U.S. textile
industry officials were urging Turkish producers to push for
a special agreement, but they were unsure whether these U.S.
representatives were also communicating to the USG their
support for such an arrangement.
5. (SBU) Comment: We have repeatedly cautioned our
interlocutors that such an agreement is extremely unlikely,
but hope springs eternal, and a "special trade agreement"
seems to have replaced qualified industrial zones as the life
buoy of choice for Turkey's textile exporters. The industry
is sounding less dire in its forecasts, however: though
Orakcioglu and others had earlier predicted that the new
global trade regime for textiles would mark the deathknell of
Turkish industry, in his most recent comments he was more
phlegmatic, noting that the industry expects USD 14 billion
in exports this year (5 billion in textiles), USD 15.5
billion in 2006, and that it is targeting a level of USD
20-21 billion in future. End Comment.
JONES
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