'UK committed to reaching free trade deal with Turkey'

By Tuba Sahin

ANKARA (AA) – Once it leaves the EU, the British government is committed to working closely with the Turkish government to develop a bilateral free trade agreement, according to a top British business leader in Turkey.

"There are clearly opportunities to continue and strengthen our trading relationship as we look to the future, once the U.K. has left the EU and established an independent trade policy," Chris Gaunt, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey, told Anadolu Agency.

Turkey aims to strengthen trade and economic ties with the U.K. in the post-Brexit period as part of the country's 100-day action plan unveiled after the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s victory in elections this June.

"We welcome any plan to strengthen ties between our two countries," said Gaunt.

Pointing to strong and growing bilateral trade between the two countries in the second quarter of this year, Gaunt said the trade volume in goods and services rose 14.6 percent year-on-year to £18.2 billion ($23 billion).

"This brings us ahead of the $20 billion target announced by President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan when he met Prime Minister Theresa May [in January], but can always do better by further increasing trade and investment volumes, promoting tariff-free and barrier-free trade, and increased levels of export financing," he said.

Gaunt added that in the third quarter trade ties could be enhanced by investments in the healthcare, defense, and energy sectors, and collaboration in the third countries' infrastructure investments.

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