A fresh start for London

Only a couple of days to go until the local council, Mayor of London and London Assembly elections this Thursday 6th.

We campaigned with Conservative mayor candidate Shaun Bailey in north London on Bank holiday Monday. It was great to meet Shefik Mehmet (Chairman of Harringay Traders Association) and Ian Sygrave (Haringey Association of Neighbourhood Watches), to talk about the cost of current mayor Sadiq Khan’s policies: from increasing congestion charge and council tax to decreasing police presence on our streets. We then stopped by Antepliler, Gokyuzu and Selale restaurants on Green Lanes. Shaun’s related tweet is here. You can find his detailed plans on the campaign website.

As many of you know Shaun’s engagement with the Turkish community started much earlier.

In February he attended a virtual rountable with directors of Turkish associations and councillors. In 2019 he was a speaker at ITSEB’s (Association of Turkish Speaking Health Professionals in the UK) seminar on mental health awareness at IAKM Britain Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi. He also attended an Iftar dinner at Turkish Religious Foundation of the UK (Ingiltere Turk Diyanet Vakfi).

The best way to help Shaun and your local candidates on Election Day is to help get out the vote. If you haven’t done this before please let us know and we can discuss!

Shaun Bailey meets Turkish community in virtual roundtable

We were delighted to host Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, directors of many Turkish associations and councillors on Feb 15th, to discuss Shaun’s ideas to tackle the issues Turkish community is facing.

There was a wide range of topics including: missing statistics about the community, unavailability of Covid brochures in Turkish, financial stress many small businesses and associations are experiencing, dealing with voter apathy, healing the wounds after Brexit campaign’s anti-Turkey rhetoric and how to prevent terrorism financing.

Here is some press coverage including notes (in Turkish): Hurriyet, Turkish Press, Eurovizyon, and Shaun’s related tweet is here.

If you are interested in participating in future roundtables, please let us know and feel free to suggest topics.

UK and Turkey sign Free Trade Agreement

The UK and Turkey have locked in tariff-free trading arrangements, which will support the trading relationship worth £18.6 billion in 2019, and committed to working towards a more ambitious trade agreement in the future.

  • The UK and Turkey secure trade agreement in major win for UK automotive, manufacturing and steel industries.
  • Today’s deal supports a trading partnership worth £18.6 billion last year.
  • The agreement lays the groundwork for a more ambitious UK Turkey trade relationship in the future.

The UK-Turkey Free Trade Agreement was signed today as International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Turkey’s Minister for Trade, Ruhsar Pekcan, met on a video call.

The deal will secure existing preferential tariffs for the 7,600 UK businesses that exported goods to Turkey in 2019, ensuring the continued tariff-free flow of goods and protecting vital UK-Turkey supply chains in the automotive and manufacturing sectors.

Both countries have also committed to working towards a more ambitious free trade agreement in the future, which will go further than the existing deal and will be tailored to the UK economy.

Today’s agreement will ensure preferential trading terms for UK businesses that exported more than £1bn worth of machinery, and iron and steel exports worth £575m, to Turkey in 2019.

It also ensures UK businesses can continue to import under preferential tariffs, compared with no agreement. This supports UK importers of textiles, where the annual increase in estimated duties would have been around £102m under WTO terms. Tariffs applied to UK imports of washing machines and televisions will remain at 0%, compared to up to 2% and 14% respectively under WTO terms.

Vital UK-Turkey supply chains will also be protected for automotive manufacturers, such as Ford, which employs 7,500 people in the UK. Car parts are imported from the UK to Turkey to assemble the Ford Transit range of vehicles, a third of which are then exported to the UK. In 2019, UK car exports to Turkey were worth £174m.

In under two years we have now reached agreement with 62 countries – and the European Union – to cover £885 billion of UK trade.

This is unprecedented, with no other country ever negotiating so many trade deals simultaneously. The Government’s ambition is to secure free trade agreements with countries that cover 80% of UK trade within three years.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:

“Today’s deal covers trade worth more than £18 billion, delivers vital certainty for business and supports thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries.

“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 UK at the centre of a network of modern agreements with dynamic economies. More trade and investment will drive economic growth across our United Kingdom and help us build back stronger from Covid.”

Stuart Rowley, President, Ford of Europe, said:

“Ford welcomes the announcement today of a trade agreement between the UK and Turkey, and the speed with which it has been concluded underscores its importance to the economic prosperity of both countries.

“As Europe’s leading commercial vehicle brand, Ford’s Dagenham engine manufacturing facility in east London exports much of its diesel engine production to our Ford Otosan joint venture in Turkey where the engines are fitted into Ford Transit vehicles, many of which are then exported from Turkey to the UK.

“Given that Ford and Ford Otosan business constitutes more than 10 per cent of the total trade volume between the UK and Turkey, this trade agreement is extremely significant for us and will help to secure jobs in both countries.”

Andy Burwell, Director for International Trade and Investment at CBI, said:

“This agreement will maintain bilateral trade worth over £18bn and will shore up key supply chains across many industries after a year of disruption.

“Turkey’s customs union with the EU made a trade deal with the UK complicated, but the pace at which the deal has been finalised following the negotiated EU deal shows the strength and depth of the relationship.

“Businesses and government must now look to growth, creating the trading relationships which will build a competitive, dynamic and progressive future economy.”

(Via https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-turkey-sign-trade-deal)

First vaccinations in the UK against coronavirus begin

PM Boris Johnson: “Today the first vaccinations in the UK against coronavirus begin. Thank you to our NHS, to all of the scientists who worked so hard to develop this vaccine.

This is the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history. It is a momentous occasion that provides fresh hope that we can beat this pandemic. And the protection vaccines offer our nation have the potential to allow us to reclaim our lives and get our economy moving again.

The UK has secured 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with an initial 800,000 available. We will begin administering the first vaccines to the most vulnerable people in the country, beginning with care home residents and their carers, all those over 80, and frontline health and social care workers.

Thanks to the work of the Vaccine Taskforce, the UK has built one of the largest and most varied vaccine portfolios in the world and today the UK has become the first country to begin vaccinating people.  

The start of this vaccination programme is a positive one, but it will not end the pandemic overnight. Despite this good news we cannot now loosen our resolve to defeat this virus – so everyone must continue to follow the rules.

We must all continue to play our part and abide by the local restrictions, to suppress the virus and protect the NHS as they carry out this vital work.”