Date posted: November 25, 2013
Turkey is preparing to kick start negotiations to ink free trade agreements (FTAs) with a dozen countries, including Japan and Canada, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan told a global trade and investment summit held in İstanbul.
The Turkey-World Trade Bridge summit, a seven-year-old event on its way to becoming an internationally recognized summit, opened its doors to visitors from around the world on Monday. Organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), the summit, which will run through Nov. 26, is hosting 1,343 foreign and 800 local firms with an estimated 25,000 business-to-business transactions. The TUSKON summit is sponsored by the Economy Ministry and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM).
The minister’s comments come on the heels of efforts to diversify Turkey’s trade markets at a time when demand in traditional trade partners has slumped. “We have no boundaries in branching out into new markets — from Africa to the Americas and Asia-Pacific. We will start talks with 12 new countries shortly, including Japan, Mexico and Canada, for FTAs with each,” Çağlayan told Monday’s TUSKON opening. This is the 18th time the event has opened its doors, and the previous 18 summits saw more than 28,000 foreign and 50,000 Turkish businesspeople participate and enter into trade agreements worth an estimated $26 billion.
Ankara currently has FTAs with 19 separate countries and is carrying out negotiations with 14 others. The EU-candidate country has so far signed deals to avoid double taxation in mutual trade with 83 countries.
The TUSKON summit convenes on the theme of food and agriculture and the participating companies are particularly engaged in these businesses. Underlining the importance the Turkish government attaches to agri-products, Çağlayan said the country’s agricultural production jumped from $24 billion to $62 billion over the past decade. A quarter of all those employed in Turkey work in agriculture or related businesses.
Çağlayan recalled that Turkey’s agriculture exports were worth $3.7 billion in 2003 with this figure increasing to $16 billion last year, making it Europe’s first and the world’s seventh largest agriculture producer. The number of agriculture exporters also doubled in the same period. Turkey expects to join the top five agriculture producers in 2023 with $40 billion in exports. This is 8 percent of the total exports goal of $500 billion.
Source: Today's Zaman , November 25, 2013