The meeting heralded the start of the seventh meeting of the UAE-Turkish Ministerial Committee, with the Turkish delegation headed by Kemal Unakitan, Minister of Finance.
In her opening remarks, Sheikha Lubna emphasised the importance attached by the UAE to its relations with Turkey, and said both countries were bound by bilateral agreements covering areas such as double taxation avoidance and air transport.
She said she hoped relations between the GCC states and Turkey would improve further once the GCC-Turkey Framework Trade Agreement, signed in 2005, was ratified. The third round of talks on the agreement will be held in Doha on February 25.
“Trade relations between Turkey and the GCC countries will improve significantly if this agreement is ratified,” Sheikha Lubna said.
Sheikha Lubna also said the UAE’s economy had performed strongly in 2007, recording a GDP of Dh698 billion. Foreign direct investments (FDI) rose to Dh19bn in 2006, achieving a 10.8 per cent growth compared to 2005. The surge in FDI is a clear message that investor confidence in the UAE economy is strong, she said.
“In view of these facts, I urge Turkish companies to increase their investments in the UAE and thereby cement our existing trade ties,” said Sheikha Lubna.
Recalling Turkey’s announcement at the World Economic Forum held recently in Abu Dhabi that it would invest some $40bn (Dh144bn) in the next five years, she urged Turkish businessmen to join hands with their UAE counterparts and take advantage of the enormous opportunities offered by the UAE.
Sheikha Lubna told the meeting two-way trade grew by 400 per cent from 2002 to 2007 to $3.7bn (Dh13.3bn) last year, compared to $700m (Dh2.5bn) in 2002. On his part, Unakitan underlined the potential of the two countries, and said the joint ministerial committee needed to lay down the necessary framework to bolster trade relations.
“Given the enormous opportunities available in the two countries, it would be logical to set new records in our bilateral trade. Our target should be to increase it from $3.7bn to $10bn,” he said.
He added the UAE’s investments in Turkey currently stood at $4bn out of a total FDI of $22bn. (Wam)
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