Irritants in the trade with Turkey to be removed soon | Suresh Prabhu

FICCI Suresh Prabhu

Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu said that India was striving hard to resolve all pending issues relating to trade with Turkey before his planned visit to Turkey along with a business delegation in February 2019.

Addressing the ‘India-Turkey Business Forum’, jointly organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and DEiK (Foreign Economic Relations Board) of Turkey, Mr Prabhu said that several issues that were hindering the augmentation of trade between the two countries had come up for discussions with the visiting Turkish Minister for Trade, Ms Ruhsar Pekcan. These included setting up of banking facilities in both countries and the tapping of construction opportunities in India and issues relating to increasing commodity products like boric acid and poppy seeds exports from Turkey to India.

He said that bilateral trade relations would have to be made sustainable. “We cannot just export, we have to import from Turkey too,” he added. Shri Prabhu said the proposal to trade in local currencies was now with the Finance Ministry and he was hopeful that this would be dealt with soon.

Ms Ruhsar Pekcan, Minister for Trade, Republic of Turkey expressed the hope that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries could be finalised soon to ensure sustainability in trade relations.  Discussions were on, she said and added that Turkey would explore all opportunities to have an FTA in place.

She said that the bilateral trade volume was US$ 7 billion in 2017 and going by the trade figures of first 11 months, the trade was all set to reach USD 8 billion mark in the coming financial year. Turkey would like the figures to be much higher along with balanced trade, she added.

Ms Pekcan was optimistic that issues such as non-acceptance of Turkey’s letters of credit and the absence of a correspondent bank in India would be resolved before the forthcoming visit to Turkey of Minister Prabhu.

Mr Sandip Somany, President, FICCI, said that FICCI would work closely with the governments of both countries to remove the hurdles in the way of two-way trade. He suggested the setting up of Indian industrial parks in Turkey for export-led industries seeking to access the European markets.

Mr Somany added that Indian and Turkish companies were vying for the same contracts, particularly in Africa. “There is a need for cooperation rather than competition”, he said.

Mr Nail Olpak, President, DEiK, said that India was one of the four priority trade partner countries for Turkey. DEiK, he said was the gateway for trading partners and urged Indian companies to tap the organisation?s expertise.  He also spoke of the need to raise the bilateral trade engagement to a much higher level.

Mr T R Kesavan, President, Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd. (TAFE), commended the smooth business facilitation services in Turkey and urged Indian companies to use Turkey as a gateway for exports to the EU and the Balkans.

The session was moderated by Mr Ravi Chaudhry, Chairman, CeNext Consulting & Investment Pvt. Ltd.

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