Export.gov logo and link to Export.gov Office of Public Affairs
Press Releases
Trade Statistics
Official Bios
Import Decisions

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery for

Donald L. Evans

U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Before the

20th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkish Relations

March 27, 2001

Washington, D.C.

Thank you. I’d like to begin by acknowledging the sponsor of this conference Boeing Corporation and thank Chris Hansen for that gracious introduction. Chris, you would have made even my mother blush.

General Scowcroft, Ambassador Ilkin (Turkish Ambassador to the U.S.), Ambassador Pearson (U.S. Ambassador to Turkey), and today’s award winners…it’s a pleasure to join you this afternoon.

I understand that a number of my predecessors have spoken to this group, and I appreciate being invited to share some time with all of you today.

I=d like to tell you a little about what you can expect from this administration and about how I see my job…but before I get into that, it might be useful if you knew a little bit about how I ended up in Washington, which is a long way from my home in Midland, Texas.

Midland is where I got my start in the oil business in the mid-1970s. It’s also where I met President Bush when we both set out to pursue the American Dream.

I spent a lot of time in the oil fields of west Texas working at everything from being a roughneck on drilling rigs to being an engineer and manager…and finally wound up running a multi-billion dollar oil and gas company.

Trust and Certainty in Government

And…that’s what brings me to Washington and here today to give you a look at how this administration plans to conduct business. And I think you’re going to like what I have to say.

I offer that with some assurance because you’re businesspeople. You want to have a marketplace that allows you to compete. You want rules that you understand and that allow you to succeed just as far as your talents and determination take you. And that’s what this administration is all about. That’s what I’m all about.

To that end, the first thing I can tell you about this new group in Washington is that you can count on us to do what we say we’ll do. You can expect "trust" and you can expect "certainty."

Frankly, it’s my strong belief that the basis for any successful or effective relationship, partnership or enterprise is grounded in trust and certainty. Therefore, it follows that if we don’t have a government we can trust and count on…we won’t have a very effective government.

I’m proud to be working with a President and a friend of more than 30 years who I know can be trusted to deliver what he promises and won’t mince words. When President Bush says, "Yes," he means, "Yes." And when he says "No," he means "No."

With that said, it should be apparent that this President will sit down with people and discuss differences and entertain a wide range of suggestions on policy matters…as will I. This administration has rejected the "zero sum game" mentality. That’s the mentality that says for me to win, you have to lose. It’s wrong and counterproductive. On far too many occasions, no one wins.

Public service is just what it says it is "Serving the Public." It is our duty…our responsibility to listen to others and lead. Lead with the attitude that says this is not a zero sum game and that nobody wins unless we all win.

It’s this rejection of the "I win, you lose" approach to government…as well as the trust and certainty I can promise you from the President that makes me delighted to serve in this administration and serve the American people.

I believe this President is seen as a leader with integrity, dignity and honor…and is serving the people for the right reasons. These are steadfast qualities that he…and everyone in his administration…will carry throughout his years in office.

Trade Policy and Commerce with Turkey

Of special interest to you, I’m sure, was the emphasis the President placed on the value of trade and business throughout his campaign. And he has maintained a strong focus on them since assuming office. He fully understands and appreciates the importance of foreign commerce…having been governor of a border state where he worked closely with Mexico and business on many issues, including trade. He knows that trade is a generator of income and a creator of jobs.

Trade, as you well know, is a key part of the long-standing U.S.-Turkish relationship. Two-way trade last year was nearly $7 billion, the most active it’s been in a number of years.

We believe that commerce between our great nations will continue expanding in the years to come. Despite the problems that have been making headlines, the Turkish economy has a recent history of growth and reform. And the current problems I would call "growing pains" that come from economic reforms, including those that are opening the economy.

Turkey is now focused on building a strong new national economic program to deal with the fallout from its recent financial problems. This program is designed to reduce inflation, to stabilize public finances and to continue structural reforms. Economy Minister Dervis announced a week ago that the initiative will cover banking, public finance, privatization of state-run industries, and monetary policy. We hope to see the details of the plan soon.

Obviously, the big challenge will be to implement the program in a way that will buoy investor confidence and encourage trade and investment. The most effective way to accomplish that will be to take care of structural problems in the economy in order to generate opportunities for growth. Turkish leaders have shown great courage in recent months in implementing reforms and the United States will follow developments closely. We’re confident that with a concerted effort, our friend and ally will succeed.

Let me say that the Turkish people can count on America to remain an active trade and investment partner. A key part of my job is to bring vision, energy and a strong commitment to expanding trade in the global economy. And I can tell you we have several special programs designed to promote new trade opportunities in Turkey.

Last year, for example, we worked with Congress to set up the Appalachia-Turkey Trade Initiative to increase bilateral trade and investment between America’s Appalachian region and Turkey. And for our exporters we have the Caspian Finance Center in our embassy in Ankara, which opened for business in 1999.

We’re also very supportive of efforts to develop a network of new oil and gas pipelines in the Caspian region. Turkey is a big player in this, and should benefit greatly as these projects develop. I understand the Baku-Tbilisi Ceyhan project is now in the commercial phase. This is great news and we look forward to the construction, completion and success of the pipeline.

We’re also happy to see that Kazakhstan is getting involved in the project, and we’re working with all the players to make it happen. The recent gas pipeline deal in the Shah Deniz field is good news, too.

All this will not only enhance political and commercial cooperation in the region, but it also will strengthen our energy security here at home.

Bush Administration Trade Policy

Clearly, our aims in the Turkey must fit within the broader outline of our trade policy agenda…one that leans heavily on the promotion of open markets. This administration is strongly committed to liberalizing global trade for three important reasons:

One…this approach promotes economic growth. It’s no coincidence that the past 18 years of sustained growth in the U.S. economy have coincided with a strong push to break down barriers to trade around the world. Our exports accounted for one-quarter of all economic growth during the past decade and jobs in the export sector continue to pay 15 percent more than the prevailing average wage.

Two…free trade promotes freedom. As President Bush has said: "Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy." The history of the past century shows that freedom will flourish as nations grow wealthier, and their people see improvements in education, health care, and access to information and knowledge. And there is no clearer example of this than Turkey.

And finally, open markets and liberalized trade promote communication, understanding and opportunity, all of which contribute to the security of nations.

Setting Trade Policy in Motion

This administration now has a trade policy framework in which to operate, and the next step is to put it into effect. The first thing we must do is secure presidential trade promotion authority from Congress, which will allow the representatives of the President to negotiate and move forward with opening markets and increasing opportunities. Each of the past five U.S. Presidents has had this authority to negotiate far-reaching trade agreements. President Bush needs it, and we have gone to Congress to get it.

And the sooner Congress acts the better, because our negotiators have a lot on their plates. We must launch a new round of global trade negotiations in the WTO, of which Turkey is a member; work closely with the European Union to fulfill the promise of a stronger Trans-Atlantic marketplace; and seek market openings and trade expansion in the Asia Pacific and elsewhere around the world.

Trade Opportunities and Change

Now…considering the changes brought by freer, more open trade regimes, we have to understand that even with all the benefits promised and many delivered that change brings with it a fear of uncertainty. I’m sure that whether we are talking about people in this country or in Turkey, we see the same reaction. It’s very human.

Here at home, President Bush has offered a comprehensive program to address the concerns of Americans in these changing times. What it amounts to is getting the economic fundamentals right and improving our educational system so that every American can compete. His proposed education reforms will better prepare our children for the economy of the future; tax reforms will allow America’s workers to keep more of what they earn in an expanding economy; and Medicare and Social Security reforms will provide a secure retirement for those who have already made their contributions to our economic well-being.

I look forward to swift action on the President’s program. We are already seeing that on the tax package…and all in the administration stand ready to work with Congress to get the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Exciting Times

Let me close on this. These are very exciting times. Developments in information technology and transportation are changing the way we do business and, in some cases, changing business altogether. The distances and wariness that often kept peoples and nations apart are slowly but definitely disappearing and hands are extending across borders and oceans…Turkish hands…American hands.

These are also very challenging times. And in challenging times I believe it is best to create the environment that allows the genius and ambition of the entrepreneur and worker to flourish. That is where the economy is grown, and the jobs are created. I believe we are seeing this approach in Turkey, and the Bush administration will actively pursue that path.

Thank you for allowing me to spend this time with you this afternoon.


Contact Us  |  About ITA  |  Site Map |  Privacy Statement  Disclaimer
U.S.Department of Commerce  |  International Trade Administration