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Pakistan prioritizing on enhancing trade relations with Turkey

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-17 15:30:00 – Turkey

Pakistan focusing on boosting trade ties Turkey, as Turkey has a very rich experience in infrastructure projects and there are many good and prominent Turkish companies investing in projects in Pakistan. Pakistan’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz Aziz said that Pakistan wanted both countries to expand their trade cooperation further.

In the last few years, the number of Turkish companies active in Pakistan increased. However, the trade volume has been reduced because of Turkey’s increased duty on textile.

Aziz termed Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s interest and support for Pakistan as "extremely valuable." Davutoglu is expected to visit Islamabad between Feb. 17 and 18, where the fourth meeting of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council will also take place. This will be the Turkish premier's first visit to Pakistan since assuming his post in August, 2014.

The council meeting is expected to focus on trade, energy, communications and transport, education and culture sectors.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, the trade volume between the two countries was $695.3 million in 2014. Aziz said that in 2011, the trade volume reached to $1 billion, but then it decreased to $800 million, and now it was around $600 million.

Pakistan would be negotiating with Turkey for the possibility of a free trade agreement that may allow duty free imports.

Regarding a three-way regional cooperation process between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey known as the "Istanbul process," Aziz said that Turkey has been a very strong supporter of Afghanistan in the last few years because of its cultural, religious and economic links.

The most significant initiative of Turkey was the Heart of Asia Istanbul process, which brought together 16 members and 50 observers in China.

According to the initiative's official website, the Istanbul process provides a new agenda for regional cooperation in the “Heart of Asia” by placing Afghanistan at its center. The process is aimed at achieving a sincere and result‐oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

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