Yeni Safak – A new chapter of revitalized trade and business ties is set to open between Turkey and France with French President François Holland’s official visit to Turkey. The first presidential visit from France to Turkey in the last 22 years, the two-day trip aims to improve relations between Paris and Ankara as well as give a much needed boost to trade between the two countries.
Speaking at the Turkish-French Business Forum held in Istanbul on the second day of his visit, the French President emphasized his visit’s importance and the new era of cooperation. “France admires Turkey’s economic transformation in the last decade to become the world’s 17th largest economy. As Turkey’s foreign trade tripled in the same period, a strong bond has been forged between Turkey and Europe”, Hollande remarked.
“The trade volume between our countries has hit EUR 12 billion as of the end of 2013; however France’s share in Turkey’s total foreign trade has dropped from 6 percent in 2002 to 3 percent in 2012. A kickstart is necessary to revitalize our business and trade ties and my visit will accomplish that. Reaching EUR 20 billion of trade is possible and we are working towards that”, the French President said, setting a new target for Turkish-French trade.
The President of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT), Ilker Ayci, also speaking at the event, said that new investments by French companies were expected in Turkey’s energy, transportation, infrastructure, tourism and healthcare sectors. “A refreshed investment inflow from Europe, Asia and the Gulf countries will continue following the local elections in March”, Ayci noted.
There are around 400 French companies active in Turkey with French investments in the country amounting to USD 7 billion. French auto manufacturer Renault has a plant in the country with an output capacity of 250,000 vehicles per year. The two countries are also cooperating in the field of nuclear energy on Turkey’s second nuclear power plant, which will be built by a Japanese-French consortium.