Star – Turkey and China have agreed to increase economic cooperation and take their annual bilateral trade to USD 100 billion.
On a two-day state visit to China, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping covering economic and political issues concerning the two countries.
Accompanied by a large delegation of ministers, private sector representatives, government officials, including the President of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT), Arda Ermut, strengthening ties with the world’s second largest economy topped the agenda of President Erdogan, as both sides agreed to work on increasing bilateral trade and investments. Turkey and China, both G-20 members, already enjoy close ties in a number of fields including infrastructure, finance and information technologies.
Addressing the participants of the Turkish-Chinese Business Forum held in Beijing, the Turkish President noted the importance of strategic cooperation that existed between the two countries and called for more Chinese investments into Turkey.
“While the improvement in Turkish-Chinese trade in the last 12 years is remarkable, up from USD 2 billion in 2002 to USD 28 billion in 2014, we must also work together to balance this trade which is currently tilted towards China's favor”, Erdogan said, calling on to Chinese companies to increase their investments in Turkey.
Stressing Turkey’s role in the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ project drawn up to facilitate trade in Eurasia, Erdogan said that Turkey’s infrastructure projects such as the Marmaray, an undersea rail tunnel connecting Europe and Asia and transportation projects of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway and Edirne-Kars Railway, both undergoing trial runs, would be key components of the modern ‘Silk Road’. Erdogan also underlined Turkey’s support for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, for his part, said that both nations have agreed on extending their strategic cooperation and expressed interest in Turkey’s high speed rail and nuclear energy projects. The two leaders also discussed using local currencies in bilateral trade and establishing a Turkish-Chinese university.
Turkey and China are also negotiating on the joint production of an air defense system. China’s biggest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) became the first Chinese lender to operate in Turkey following its acquisition of 75.5-percent stake in Turkish Tekstilbank in 2014. Turkey hosts a regional management center for the Chinese network solutions provider Huawei which also operates a research and development lab in Istanbul.