Japan seeks deals to enhance investments in Turkey
Deniz Çiyan - ISTANBULJapan, the world’s third largest economy by nominal GDP, expects the finalization of two agreements with Turkey which will increase its investments in the country and the $3.5 billion trade volume between the two nations, a spokesperson for the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
Yasuhisa Kawamura, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Secretary Director-General for Press and Public Diplomacy, told Hürriyet Daily News the completion of two agreements, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Social Security Agreement, were key to enhancing Japanese companies’ interest in the country.
“The conclusion of these agreements is the key to future Japanese investments in Turkey, as this will create the favorable environment for Japanese companies and investors in Turkey,” said Kawamura.
Stating both of the agreements were being conducted to fit the two countries’ regulations so not only Japanese companies but also Japanese employees would be interested in coming to Turkey, Kawamura added they were under negotiation.
“We [Turkey and Japan] should make best efforts so that two countries can exploit potential growth of trade and investments in two ways,” he said.
“The first short step for the growth of the two-way trade of the two countries is to create a friendly environment for doing business. So how can we do this? By concluding those treaties,” he added.
Stating that Japanese companies were interested in communications/satellite, bridges, hospitals, high speed trains and power plant projects, Kawamura said these sectors were areas Japanese companies wished to contribute their technologies so the Turkish government could mark the 100th anniversary of its foundation in 2023 as one of the leading economies in the world, a goal that was put forth by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the second half of the 2000s.
A Japanese company is constructing a suspension bridge in Turkey’s west, while a Japanese-Turkish consortium built Istanbul’s Marmaray, the undersea rail tunnel beneath the Bosphorus Strait. A Franco-Japanese group has won the bid to construct the country’s second nuclear power plant in the northern province of Sinop.
Kawamura said Japanese companies were attracted to Turkey for three main reasons: Potential, dynamism and connectivity. Turkey was a major economy in the world with its 70 million people and per capita income of over $10,000, he added.
Turkey’s “geographically strategic position” was another key point for Japanese companies to take advantage of by building their outlets in the country, while the Turkish economy, under President Erdoğan’s rule, was the growth engine in the region, according to the spokesperson.
“Japan and Turkey complete each other,” Kawamura said.
Japanese loans to Turkish municipalities for migrants
As part of Japan’s efforts to offer a helping hand to Turkey to better cope with Syrian migrants who have fled their country after nearly five years of war, Japan has begun to provide assistance to Turkish municipalities by giving loans worth as much as $370 million, Kawamura said.
“This year we provided $370 million of loans to the [Turkish] local governments and municipalities [who receive high amounts of Syrian migrants] … to improve the quality of water and sewage systems,” said Kawamura.
He added Japan’s humanitarian approach, their “peace loving nation” path, to the Syrian crisis would not change, while recalling a speech given at the United Nations by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said Japan would provide $810 million for emergency assistance to refugees from Syria and Iraq.