NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Move Forward Free Trade with Turkey

December 28, 2010

Pop quiz: what emerging market Islamic nation that has been an American military ally for more than half a century is not a major trading partner with the U.S.?

The answer is...Turkey.  Though hopefully that answer will soon change, says Joshua Newell of the Reason Foundation.

  • The United States currently has Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with 17 countries.
  • Close military allies (Israel), Muslim countries (Jordan) and emerging economies (Chile) are all represented.
  • So, the submission to Congress calling for an FTA with Turkey is certainly overdue.

Opening up trade with a NATO member who possesses the 17th largest economy in the world, and is being compared to rising economic powers such as Brazil, is a no-brainer for the United States, especially considering the economic benefits of free trade.

  • First, an FTA would lower Turkish tariffs on American goods, especially American food and agricultural products; these decreased production costs would allow U.S. companies to expand their business, creating jobs and stimulating the economy in the process.
  • As a corollary, freer trade would lower U.S. tariffs on Turkish imports into the United States; these tariffs are laid on American consumers, so taking them away would allow Americans to pay less on everything from tennis shoes to pillows to televisions.
  • Finally, even the negotiations of such an agreement can benefit the economy, as investors and businesses realize that economic growth lies ahead in the near future.

There is little doubt an FTA would provide a variety of benefits.  And particularly given all the talk in Congress about the need to further stimulate the economy, why not try the number one recommended method of job creation and quickly move forward on free trade discussions with Turkey, says Newell.

Source:  Joshua Newell, "Move Forward Free Trade with Turkey," Reason Foundation, December 15, 2010.

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