By. Justin Mays
Senior level executives from over 20 major American companies joined President Recep Erdogan on a video conference call on May 26, 2021 to discuss reforms and investment in Turkey. Officials from Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Cisco, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, among others attended according to Reuters. The roundtable highlighted both countries growing cooperation as a prelude to US President Joe Biden and Erdogan’s upcoming first in person meeting since the US 2020 elections. They are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of June’s NATO Summit on June 14. Organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Turkish Presidency's Investment Office, the Turkish Embassy and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) the “CEO-level virtual roundtable” included a wide range of U.S. industries and discussed international investment and growing economic and trade cooperation as well as current economic affairs. According to Daily Sabah, as an important economic partner, Erdogan thanked companies for believing in Turkey and said he hopes that relations with the United States will be more constructive, adding U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel remain a problem. He added that they could cooperate in Syria and in Libya, in the fight against terror and in energy. He also emphasized that with their support Turkey can be a global production and technology hub. Sharing positive recent economic indicators, they learned that in 2020 when international direct investments decreased by 42 per cent, Turkey managed to attract nearly 8 billion dollars in direct investments. The total direct investments of the US in Turkey increased to 13 billion dollars and the investments of Turkish companies in the US reached 7.2 billion dollars in 2020. In 2021 Turkish industrial production increased by 12.3% year-on-year in the first quarter.
Thanking the participants who have a vested interest in investing in Turkey "By simplifying our incentive system, we will ensure investors can take advantage of incentives easier… I believe that we, together with your support, will make Turkey, which is the heart of three continents, a global production and technology hub." Erdogan told the executives via a translator in televised remarks.