Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Britain and Turkey signed a trade deal Tuesday to continue tariff-free trading that was worth $25 billion last year.
British International Secretary Liz Truss and and Turkey's Minister for Trade Ruhsar Pekcan secured the agreement while meeting on a video call Tuesday, a British government statement said.
"Today's deal covers trade worth more than 18 billion pounds [$25 billion], delivers vital certainty for business and supports thousands of jobs across the UK [Britain] in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries," Truss said.
Britain has reached trade deals with 62 countries and the European Union in under two years as part of the government's goal to secure free trade with countries that cover 80% of their trade in three years.
"It paves the way for a new, more ambitious deal with Turkey in the near future, and is part of our plan to put the U.K. at the center of a network of modern agreements with dynamic economies," Truss said. "More trade and investment will drive economic growth across our United Kingdom and help us build back stronger from Covid."
The deal protects Britain-Turkey supply chains in automotive and manufacturing sectors by ensuring the continued tariff-free flow of goods with preferential trading terms for British imports and exports, according to the statement. In particular, the deal will protect Ford, which employs 7,500 people in Britain, since car parts are imported from Britain to Turkey to assemble the vehicles, a third of which are then exported to Britain.
"Ford welcomes the announcement today of a trade agreement between the U.K. and Turkey, and the speed with which it has been concluded underscores its importance to the economic prosperity of both countries," Ford of Europe President Stuart Rowley said in a statement.
Along with preferential trading terms for British businesses that export machinery, iron and steel, the agreement also supports preferential tariffs for British importers of textiles, and tariffs applied to British imports of washing machines and televisions will remain at 0% under the deal.