CHICAGO ï¿½ The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Turkey to increase economic cooperation between the two governments by forming the UFT-DCEO Business Cooperation Initiative.
ï¿½Turkey is where East meets West, a historic crossroads of opportunity and a place where ideas intermingle and grow. Illinois is pleased to be able to strengthen our ties with Turkey and build Illinois business opportunities by cementing our growing relationship through this agreement,ï¿½ said Warren Ribley, director of DCEO.
The object of the initiative is to facilitate trade and strategic business alliances between the two entities through an ongoing exchange of ideas concerning the current business climate and investment opportunities. This is the first Turkish agreement with an individual state in the U.S.
Underlining the importance of the agreement to both countries, more than 60 members of the Turkey delegation, led by H.E. Minister Zafer ï¿½aÄŸlayan, were in attendance at the signing on Monday. Minister ï¿½aÄŸlayan indicated the relationship would primarily be focused between small & medium scale enterprises.
Turkey's modern economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce, along with a traditional agriculture sector that still accounts for about 30% of employment. It is currently in transition to a more diversified economy with an increasingly large and globalized services sector. The largest industrial sector is textiles and clothing, which accounts for one-third of industrial employment. However, other sectors, notably the automotive and electronics industries, are rising in importance and have surpassed textiles within Turkey's export mix.
In calendar year 2008, Illinois shipped more than $515 million in goods and services to Turkey, with top categories including machinery, chemical, fabricated metal products and computer and electronic products. The recession did negatively affect the trade relationship in 2009, but trade is up again 24% in the first quarter of this year.
DCEO is the state's lead agency for job creation and economic growth.