Economy, Business And Markets

Private Sector Seeks Turkish Trade

Private Sector Seeks Turkish TradePrivate Sector Seeks Turkish Trade

Top private sector officials from Iran and Turkey have announced that they seek to ensure that trade relations between the two countries will increase in the next two years.

The fourth international conference on introducing opportunities for investment, and increasing industrial and commercial cooperation between Iran and Turkey was held in Ankara on October 24. Officials attending the meeting agreed that Iran-Turkey trade exchanges should increase to $30 billion by the end of 2014, and should reach $35 billion by the end of 2015.

 The event was jointly organized by the Iranian embassy in Ankara and The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) - the country’s highest legal entity representing the private sector. The conference hosted representatives from more than 50 private Iranian firms and Turkish corporations.

“Trade between Turkey and Iran stood at $22 billion in 2012,” said Sahin Bilgic, TOBB board member, who also underlined the historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic ties between the two countries.

However, the volume of trade dipped to $14.5 billion in the following year, due to economic sanctions imposed on Tehran by the West.

The Iranian ambassador to Turkey Alireza Bigdeli said in the conference that the two sides should not let the recent regional and global challenges influence their bilateral trade targets.

“There are some obstacles to promotion of commercial ties between the two countries,” said Bigdeli, adding that the problems in the field of land transportation was one of the challenges “that is now being resolved.”

The two countries have agreed to cooperate in different fields, including industry, trade, defense industries, tourism, said the ambassador.

“Turkey has set its target to increase the value of its export to Iran to $16 billion dollars for the current year,” said Ibrahim Caglar, TOBB vice president, who is also Turkish deputy economy minister. The target will likely be achieved, he said.

The two countries have exchanged numerous trade delegations in the last ten years, which has resulted in increased demand on both sides of the border, and, thus, has strengthened bilateral trade ties.    

“Turkish companies have invested more than $1.6 billion in Iran and more than 3,250 Iranian companies have set up their branches in Turkey,” said Caglar.

Referring to a preferential trade agreement – signed in January by the two countries in an attempt to bolster trade ties – the Turkish official added that the finalization of the agreement provides the two sides with an invaluable mechanism to promote trade in the medium run. “It should not be taken as the sole commercial mechanism between Tehran and Ankara, though it can provide them with a platform to achieve free trade targets.”

Iran, as Turkey’s eastern neighbor, is one the country’s largest trading partners. The two sides discuss trade ties on a regular basis through Joint Economic Commission (JEC), Joint Border Trade Commission, and also by exchanging provincial and governmental trade delegations.