Turkey, Qatar ink trade deal, enhance economic relations

Turkey and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday, finalizing a number of previously agreed deals, reported Anadolu Agency.

The agreement was inked by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Qatar’s Economy and Trade Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani in Istanbul.

Simsek said a stronger foundation had been established upon which to further develop political and economic relations between the two countries.

“Many topics decided today, for example the signing of an agreement over cooperation on fairs and free trade zones, actually came on the agenda in the 5th Joint Economic Commission.

“With [Thursday’s] 6th Joint Economic Commission we finalized these memoranda of understanding,” Simsek added.

“When we meet Qatari leaders we only talk about opportunities such as, what we can do in Turkey, Qatar, Gulf countries and third countries.

“That’s why we should focus more on concrete projects. Significant improvements were seen in our bilateral trade. We are still far from the desired levels,” Simsek said.

Regarding a proposed free trade agreement, Simsek said they expected bilateral trade volume between the two countries to rise to much higher levels once the deal is signed.

Simsek said as of now there are 99 companies with Qatari co-partners in Turkey and this number is expected to surge in the coming years.

Qatari Investments in Turkey

Qatar First Bank (QFB), which has invested in Turkey’s healthcare and retail sectors to generate about $300mn in revenues, can serve as a bridge between the two countries as well as the broader Gulf Cooperation Council to strengthen investment and business flows, according to its top official, reported Gulf News.

“Financial service is one of the main areas of bilateral co-operation between Qatar and Turkey, and we believe it has a great potential for further growth and development. QFB is in a perfect position to participate and facilitate deals, projects and investments between the two countries and play a vital role in growing and strengthening the current business relationship,” QFB chief executive Ziad Makkawi told the 9th Investment Advisory Council (IAC) meeting in Istanbul.

The meeting — which was chaired by Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and attended by top Turkish government officials, representatives from 20 global companies as well as the major business associations — shared their expertise and discussed ways to strengthen the competitiveness of Turkey’s investment climate.

Yildirim said his government is reviewing the policy framework, which includes ease of doing business, to create an enabling investment environment and turn the country as an attractive destination for international investors.
“The IAC meetings are setting the roadmap to strengthening the competitiveness of Turkey’s investment climate. Allowing the participation of leading intuitions from across the region, reflects a country’s bold behaviour towards achieving a quantum leap in its successful journey on both economic and developmental levels. IAC meetings will promote an exchange of foreign investments from Qatar and the region to Turkey,” according to Abdulla bin Fahad bin Ghorab al-Marri, chairman of QFB.

Makkawi said leaders of Turkey have continually shown their commitment and dedication to maintain and develop a healthy business climate, supported by a clear communication strategy and engagement with the international investor community.

“As a long standing and committed investor in Turkey we feel encouraged by these types of initiatives that help align perceptions with reality in terms of the Turkish economic and political environment,” he said.

Turkish Deputy Prime Ministers Mehmet Şimsek and Nurettin Canikli; Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci; Finance Minister Naci A?bal; Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak; and Development Minister Lütfi Elvan also attended the IAC, whose aim is to improve Turkey’s investment environment and attracting foreign investors to the country.