Turkey, Japan take important step toward reaching free trade accord
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his Ankara visit in last May. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZA study group established by Turkish and Japanese representatives has presented a report on a potential free trade agreement, marking another important step toward a trade pact.
The report prepared by the Joint Study Group, has been finalized and is ready to be sent to the Japanese side, the Turkish Economy Ministry said in a statement released on its website last week.
Japan and Turkey agreed to look into the possibility of negotiating a bilateral free-trade agreement in July 2012 during Çağlayan’s Japan visit, in order to develop trade volume, which totaled $3.9 billion in 2012.
The statement said that after the Japanese side completes the internal approval process of the report the countries will be ready to pass to the subsequent phase of beginning FTA negotiations.
The group’s report reflected authorities’ previous remarks regretting that the trade volume between the two countries was below the real potential. Turkey especially wants to balance its trade ties with one of the largest economies in the world.
Turkey conducted only $332 million in exports to Japan last year, figures that were dwarfed by Japanese exports to Turkey totaling $3.6 billion. “A free trade to be negotiated between the parties is expected to deepen the economic relations and enrich the investment and cooperation opportunities as well as boosting bilateral trade – which currently weigh against Turkey – while turning it into a more balanced structure,” the report said.