Turkish businessmen strike deals with Egyptian brothers
CAIRO - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivers a speech a the Turkey-Egypt Business Forum in Cairo. The two countries should raise mutual trade volume to $10 billion annually, he says. AA Photo
A large business mission headed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, including nine Cabinet ministers and 350 business people, took firm steps yesterday to develop business and trade ties with the recovering nation.
Addressing the audience at the Turkey-Egypt Business Forum in Cairo, Erdoğan said 20 new deals had been inked, raising the total number to 27.
“Two third of Egypt’s population is young and dynamic, and your intellectual background is good,” Erdoğan said. “This are promising, but you should manage this well and make use of it. Turkish business people and entrepreneurs believe and trust in Egypt’s future,” he said, Turkish businesses’ insistence on staying in the country was a reflection of such belief, the prime minister said. “They love Egypt and they love Egyptians as their brothers. Let’s walk to the future together,” he said.
Praising the Turkish economy’s recent boom, Erdoğan said Turkey was set to pay off all its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and was today continuing talks about lending the Fund $5 billion.
In 2002 Turkey’s trade volume with North African and Middle Eastern countries was below $5 billion, Erdoğan said, in reference to the period before the rule of his Justice and Development Party (AKP). “This figure has increased nine fold to $45 billion.”
Predicting that the mutual trade between the two countries would reach $5 billion by the end of this year, Erdoğan expressed his ambition to see it rise further. “This figure is not enough. Hopefully we will increase it to $10 billion in three or four years,” he said.
Erdoğan also said he wanted to export Turkey’s local administration philosophy to Egypt and make Istanbul and Cairo, and Alexander and Ankara sister cities.
‘Excuse our problems’
Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil called on Turkish businessmen to invest more in his country at the same forum yesterday. “Let [the Turkish businessmen] excuse our problems that came out after the revolution. Let them share their problems with us,” he said, also calling the current mutual trade volume “insufficient.”
Also speaking at the forum, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Cağlayan said agricultural products would soon be included into the existing free trade deal between Turkey and Egypt. The relevant parties have launched studies on the issue and have determined points that promise development, he said.
Some 200 Turkish business people have $1.5 billion worth of investments in the country, Çağlayan also said, emphasizing that these people had not withdrawn from the country during the days of revolution and had boosted investments afterwards.