Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be “better explained to Turkish entrepreneurs”, adding that the country is “ready to work on that”.
Speaking at the Pakistan-Turkey Business and Investment Forum in the capital Islamabad alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan, Ergogan said that Turkey was not given the same opportunities that are offered to some other countries.
“Hopefully we’ll open the door for new businesses. We wish to raise the level of Pakistan and Turkey’s business relations to the level of our political relations,” he said.
He said, currently, the bilateral trade was only $800 million which is not acceptable.” Our mutual population is over 300 million. Therefore, we have to bring our trade to the level we deserve,” he maintained, adding that we cannot allow protectionism to hinder bilateral trade.
“So we should quickly increase our bilateral trade to $1 billion, and then bring it up to $5 billion. We cannot obtain these objectives only through good will, we have to take determined, clear, and strong steps towards our common objectives.”
In Turkey we have 158 companies with Pakistani capital […] we would like to see more such companies, he said. Currently, we have a model in place for offering Turkish citizenship to investors under certain conditions, he added.
“I invite my Pakistani brethren to have confidence in the Turkish economy, we are among the world’s top 20 economies.
“Turkey had a public debt of 72 per cent which we brought down to 30pc. Despite all the attacks, the economic espionage and the regional situation we continued to grow,” he said, stressing on the country’s banking sector and tourism industry.
“We see that Pakistan is taking important steps in facilitating businesses and providing a conducive environment [for them] under the leadership of my brother Imran. We are aware that Pakistan offers a lot of opportunities.
“We have companies of international renown in the fields of defence, transportation, housing, healthcare, and construction,” he stated.
Talking about Turkish serials and dramas which are popular in the country, he said: “Turkish serials that are followed by millions of people abroad are being followed by Pakistanis too, so we should also venture into filmmaking.”
“I have heard that Pakistanis trust western healthcare more, we have to change that.” Turkey is far more advanced than other western countries, with the latest medical advancements and healthcare, he said.
“With our support, and with the efforts of the business community, our economic-social relations will receive the respect it deserves.”
Earlier, Pakistan and Turkey finalised two memorandums of understandings (MoUs) to increase the level of economic engagement and mobilise the untapped potential for increasing trade and investment.
The understanding was reached during a meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Trade and Investment held on the sidelines of the two-day visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Two MoUs finalised by the JWG include one on Trade Facilitation and Customs Cooperation, and the other to reinforce cooperation in the field of Halal Accreditation. The two sides agreed to explore the possibilities of enhancing bilateral trade by mutually beneficial market access and trade facilitation.
According to a statement issued after the meeting both sides reviewed the existing bilateral trade and agreed to increase the level of economic engagement.
Both sides also agreed to encourage their businessmen to establish joint ventures in industrial sectors and cooperate in the field of e-commerce.