9/9/2009

Turkey and India to sign free-trade agreement

Hurriyet Daily News - Turkey and India will sign a free-trade agreement, as first suggested during Prime Minister Erdogan's visit last year. A joint working committee will convene in October to draw up a road map. Turkey and India have agreed to sign a free-trade agreement to boost mutual investments, State Minister Mehmet Aydin said after a Turkish-Indian Business Council Meeting in Ankara on Tuesday. Turkey is seeking a free-trade agreement with India to boost mutual investments in the construction, energy and housing sectors, Aydın emphasized at the meeting, which he co-chaired with Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma . The bilateral trade volume between the two countries has increased from USD 1.8 to USD 3 billion over the last few years, and officials are aiming for it to reach USD 5 billion, Aydin explained. According to Sharma, it was a fruitful meeting in which participants reviewed the sectors most conducive to cooperation. Suggesting that a joint working committee be established, he said that Indian businessmen were interested in Turkey’s IT, energy, textile and automotive sectors. Comparing official figures in 2008 with those of previous years, the bilateral trade volume increased by 14 percent, and Turkish exports to India jumped by 56 percent, reaching USD 543 million. Poppy seeds, marble, travertine, iron, steel and vehicles are the main Turkish exports, while India sells artificial fibers, chemicals, automotive products and cotton to Turkey. “The first meeting of the joint working committee will take place in October,” Caglayan added, underscoring that the free-trade agreement, if signed, would make India a neighbor of Europe.