ISTANBUL, TURKEY, June 11, 2013 – Turkish consumers are rapidly expanding their buying choices and U.S. agricultural leaders want to make sure a diverse selection of U.S. products are on the menu.

Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse is leading a U.S. delegation to Turkey June 10-14 with hopes of further expanding relationships with the key trading partner in that country. He’s joined by representatives from six state departments of agriculture and 20 U.S. agricultural companies, representing a wide variety of agricultural products including dry beans, fruit and nuts, agricultural machinery and more.

“They want to be one of the top ten economies by 2023, so you can see the reason why we decided to come to Turkey at this point in time with this trade mission,” noted Scuse during a call from Turkey.

The group scheduled 264 meetings with 72 different Turkish companies and thus far, only one company has not showed up,” Scuse added.

Acting Agriculture Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse tours the
Carrefour supermarket in Istanbul, Turkey on Monday, Jun. 10, 2013. USDA photo
“I think that underscores the interest they have in U.S. agricultural products.”

According to a USDA Foreign Agriculture Service report Turkey is already growing rapidly.

“A young population, increasing urbanization rates and a growing middle class help boost the economy,” the report notes.

Some sectors are already benefitting from Turkey’s growing appetite for U.S. products. U.S. agricultural exports to the country tripled over the last decade. In fiscal year 2012, two-way agricultural trade between the two countries reached more than $2.4 billion, with U.S. exports accounting for more than 75 percent of the total, according to USDA.

“Sixty percent of Turkey’s cotton imports are from United States. I think that’s important for us to recognize,” Scuse said during a USDA radio interview. “There is also a tremendous demand for livestock and genetics.”

Scuse says USDA’s Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM – 102) is very important to Turkish importers. The GSM-102 program guarantees credit extended by the private banking sector in the United States (or, less commonly, by the U.S. exporter) to approved foreign banks using dollar-denominated, irrevocable letters of credit for purchases of U.S. food and agricultural products by foreign buyers, according to USDA.

“It’s been an extremely successful program that needs to be continued,” he added. 

Turkey is also the second-largest country participant (behind South Korea) in USDA’s GSM-102 program. In FY 2012, GSM-102 supported sales of approximately $700 million in agricultural commodities to Turkey, including 70 percent of all U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to Turkey.


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