Nick Clegg leads trade mission to Turkey

 

Nick Clegg was today leading a trade mission to Turkey as he seeks to drum up investment in Britain and boost UK exports.

The Deputy Prime Minister hopes to secure deals worth £500 million and began his visit by announcing a series of contracts had already been signed with Turkish companies to help revive the UK's economy, creating dozens of jobs.

The Liberal Democrat leader said: "It's fantastic to be announcing new jobs for the UK and such an impressive set of deals for British businesses.

"Turkey is Europe's seventh largest economy and is one of the world's largest markets.

"My main aim this week is to ensure that more UK firms can capitalise on the economic opportunities Turkey offers."

Deals already agreed include Turkish company HDM Steel Pipe opening a £7 million factory in Cardiff, creating 38 jobs and Wolverhampton-based Concept Steels signing a £5 million contract with a Turkish firm to export alloys, metals and components for the oil, gas and chemical industries.

Meanwhile, Istanbul-based hospital group Florence Nightingale will set up its European headquarters in London, creating eight jobs and investing £100,000.

Mr Clegg, who will visit Ankara and Istanbul with Conservative Business Minister Michael Fallon and 18 top executives on the two-day trip, added: "We have an ambitious aim to double bilateral trade by 2015.

"It has increased by 40% since 2009 so we are making good progress towards the target, and this visit will bring us even closer."

In an article for Turkish newspaper Sabah, the Deputy Prime Minister sets out his aims for the trade mission.

He says: "In my conversations in Ankara and Istanbul I will champion the UK's greatest assets: our pro-business tax and regulatory environment, the strength of our universities and research base, and our openness to foreign investment.

"I'll also be emphasising our commitment to delivering a first-class visa service for Turkish travellers - every year millions of Turks go to the UK as tourists, students and to do business."

Mr Clegg says he will also speak with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the Syrian civil war and President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy fighters.

"Sadly, the United Nations Security Council has been unable to unite on the need to take action to secure Assad's removal and protect ordinary Syrians facing his brutality," says the Lib Dem leader.

"We share Turkey's intense frustration at this failure. We are very keen to work with the Turkish government in handling the consequences, not least the exodus of refugees.

"Turkey has responded to this challenge in a typically impressive manner. The speed with which the Government established camps to deal with the tens of thousands pouring across the border has drawn praise from around the world.

"The UK has already committed £30 million to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Syria and the surrounding countries, making us the world's second biggest bilateral donor.

"Our challenge now is to bring about the peace that would allow the hundreds of thousands of Syrian people who have fled their homes to return in safety."

PA

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