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Bahrain, Turkey aim to boost trade volume to $1 billion
01 : 57 PM - 02/11/2016
Manama, Nov. 2 (BNA): Turkey's Custom and Trade Minister, Bulent Tufenkci has hailed the wise directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during his recent visit to the Turkish Republic and meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He added that at the directives of His Majesty the King and His Excellency the President there are efforts to boost the volume of mutual trade exchange between the two countries to $1 billion, up from $418 million in 2014.

The Turkish minister was speaking on the sidelines of the second GCC-Turkey Forum held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa the Prime Minister.

"This forum holds a special importance in view of our excellent relations with our brethren in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries," Tufenkci said. "I am honoured to head a large delegation of Turkish businessmen and investors to participate at the invitation of the Federation of Gulf Chambers and the Turkish bourses."

The minister said that he was grateful to Bahrain's government and people for the "gracious reception and hospitality and the impressive facilities provided to ensure the success of the forum session."

The top priority was boosting the strong partnership on real grounds between Turkey and the GCC countries, he said.

"The importance of this forum emanates from what can be adopted between Turkey and the GCC countries in view of the huge investment potentials in both sides and which can lead to finding a new type of economic integration among them, especially in view of the success of mega global economic blocs."

Tufenkci said that strong relations have resulted in the growth of the balance of trade relations between Turkey and the GCC countries in general, and particularly with Bahrain.

The volume of mutual trade exchange between Turkey and the GCC countries reached $14.4 billion in 2015. The trade balance with Bahrain reached $ 498 million in 2014, but dropped to $ 329.7 in 2015.

"Following the failed coup attempt, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa visited Turkey. His Majesty's visit was welcomed with all due appreciation and gratitude by the Turkish government and people. The visit was successful by all measures. During the visit, companies and investors were encouraged to increase the volume of trade exchange and to benefit from opportunities to invest in both countries and we aspire to boost the volume of trade transactions between Bahrain and Turkey to the tune of $1 billion," Tufenkci said.

"These goals will hopefully be achieved in the immediate future, especially as there are huge potential investments in the fields of energy, health, tourism and in the industrial sector in addition to the robust infrastructure and logistic support. Owing to its distinctive strategic location among the GCC countries and in view of its flexible laws and economic infrastructures, Bahrain can be the main gateway for local Turkish investments and at the regional level."

Tufenkci said that in his address to the forum, he pointed out to the significance of a GCC-Turkish Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"We requested from the GCC countries to define the preferred commodities from Turkey that can be the common ground on which to build in future to sign a Free Trade Agreement between the two sides. We do hope to have the FTA in the immediate future. I have felt great enthusiasm about the FTA from many officials in Bahrain and the GCC countries, and it is possible to discuss this topic at the level of trade ministers in the GCC countries. We will t hen be ready to discuss it with the Council as a single organisation in view of its possible benefits and advantages to both sides."

Tufenkci said that "everybody knows how strong and powerful the Turkish economy is, and about its capacity to overcome crises that could occur.

"There was no adverse impact following the failed coup on the Turkish economy. Turkey holds the sixth rank in Europe in terms of economic growth, a leading position among the most advanced economies and the third place among developing nations. The reason why Turkey's economy was not affected by the saboteurs' coup attempt is attributed to the characteristically great awareness of the Turkish people who struggled over the years to boost democracy and its practice by words and deeds.

Subsequently, the Turkish people have spent $12 billion to support their country's economy after the failed coup attempt."

The minister said that the Turkish markets and people have resumed business as usual the day following the heinous coup attempt, stressing that the financial institutions and banks did not need any support from the Central Bank.

Tufenkci added that foreign investments have increased by 100% after the failed coup attempt.

"Around 350 foreign companies were incorporated within less than a month after the failed coup attempt. Foreign investors' confidence in the Turkish economy is still strong despite some reverberations. This is attributed primarily to the people's rallying around their nation and their strong desire to maintain a strong Turkey at all levels, including its economy. The Turkish people have struggled and worked over many long years aiming at two goals - democracy and the economy."

Tufenkci said that Gulf citizens could avail of the land opportunities offered by his country.

"As everybody knows, Turkey possesses huge resources in the field of foodstuffs in view of its vast areas of farmlands, quality soil, abundant waters, and robust infrastructures. Therefore, the potential for successful agricultural investment are available in Turkey to a large extent and we as government undoubtedly support such projects and provide all facilities for them, away from any form of bureaucracy," he said.

"Surely, any investments from our brethren in the GCC countries to lease farmlands in Turkey, whether at the level of the private sector or at the level of governments and states will be welcome."

Tufenkci added that his country was ready to boost security accords with the GCC countries.

"Turkey always stresses that the security of GCC countries means the security of Turkey and vice versa. Therefore, Turkey will always be ready to sign agreements with GCC countries regarding security, military and also regarding military industries and to exchange expertise on counter-terrorism and anti-extremism," he said.

"Turkey has attained advanced levels in the military industries and we will be glad to share this expertise with our brethren in the GCC countries and to exchange experiences in order to achieve real stability for the region and to work together to boost the level of prosperity of our peoples and future generations."


BNA 1055 GMT 2016/11/02

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