Turkey eyes $3b trade with Bangladesh
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said bilateral trade between Turkey and Bangladesh will cross the $3 billion mark by 2015.
In the first 10 months of 2010, bilateral trade increased to $742 million from $648 million in 2009, despite the global financial crisis.
When the incumbent Turkish PM's party assumed power in 2002 through a general election, two-way trade between Bangladesh and Turkey was only $47 million.
"Our target is to increase the bilateral trade to $1 billion at the end of the year and $3 billion at the end of 2015. The target is achievable, because we have determination," said Erdogan yesterday at a luncheon meeting of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.
He suggested Bangladesh utilise Turkish expertise in construction and infrastructure development as his country boasts skills to carry out those jobs.
Turkey achieved 11 percent economic growth in the first six months of this year, ranking number one in Europe and third globally, he said.
"The rate of unemployment has been increasing worldwide in the wake of the global recession, but Turkey successfully cut its unemployment rate by maintaining significant economic growth," the Turkish PM said.
Tourist arrivals in Turkey are increasing while neighbouring Spain and Greece have been losing the numbers, Erdogan added.
Erdogan added that the most important asset of Bangladesh is the country's young and dynamic people, which Bangladesh should utilise for achieving overall development.
He urged the government to enforce the trade and investment protection agreement signed between the two countries in 1987 to boost trade.
At the meeting, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said mutual cooperation and investments between the two countries must be enhanced as Turkey has already made considerable advancements in this regard.
"Direct flights between Turkey and Bangladesh are all set to begin next month," he added.
FBCCI President AK Azad said major export items from Bangladesh to Turkey include knitwear, woven garment products, raw jute and jute goods, hides and skins, crockery, cutlery and handicrafts.
On the other hand, the goods imported from Turkey include machinery and mechanical appliances, base metal, textile and textile articles, vehicles, aircraft, vegetable products, mineral products, plastic and rubber products and prepared foodstuff.
The Turkish investors have opportunities to invest in textiles, tourism, energy, construction, natural gas-based industries, telecommunication, fisheries and agro-based industries in Bangladesh, he said.
Emerging from bilateral talks yesterday, the Bangladesh and Turkey prime ministers held a joint press conference.
Erdoðan said his government and the private sector of Turkey will continue to offer and provide support and assistance to help Bangladesh emerge as a mid-income country by 2021, according to news agency UNB.
“There is huge potential to increase the trade up to a minimum $3 billion by 2015,” he said.
About the direct Dhaka-Istanbul air-link, he said it would strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various sectors, especially tourism.
Erdoðan hoped the economic and cultural collaboration would be further strengthened in the future.
He also said the Turkish government is interested to see an increase in the number of Bangladeshi students studying in Turkish educational institutions at graduation and under-graduation levels.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged her Turkish counterpart to encourage Turkish investors to invest in infrastructure development, energy production, river dredging, machinery and equipment plants, ICT, tourism, textile and particularly agro-based industries.