Turkish business community set to push trade with Greece
by Hazal Ateş
ANKARAJul 21, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Hazal Ateş
Jul 21, 2015 12:00 am
The Turkish business world is set to carry out common trade with companies from Greece. Topics concerning new mutual investment opportunities and taking joint actions with third countries will be addressed during business forums to be held in Turkey and Greece to bring together the business communities of both countries. Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said cooperation could be formed in the areas of tourism, agriculture, agriculture-based industry, construction and transportation, underlining that Turkish companies can bring great dynamism to Greece. Commenting on the new era of trade relations between the two countries, Zeybekci said that Greece should switch to a production-and-export-based economy and boost added-value-based tourism as soon as possible. Emphasizing that Greece needs production to grow, he said they are holding talks with Greece so that Turkish companies can produce and invest in the country. Stressing that the Aegean Sea can be made more of a tourist attraction for the world, Zeybekci said Turkey and Greece could cooperate in tourism as well. The Aegean Sea can be "a sea of happiness" that can satisfy both sides economically, he said.
Pointing out that Turkey and Greece produce similar products, Zeybekci said the two countries can cooperate rather than compete with regard to these products. "During the talks that we held with the economy minister of the former government, we were aiming to be two standard-setting countries in the world," Zeybekci said, adding that this halted when the Greek crisis emerged.
Exports to Greece down 13 pct
According to Zeybekci, Turkey's imports from Greece dropped 40 percent, while its exports to the country fell 13 percent this year. "When exports drop, Greece loses as well. This is the point you reach when you do not produce," he said. He also said Greece has run into debt "beyond measure," continuing: "It made the best of all kinds of EU funds and financial aid packages. It paid pensions that are far above those in the EU. Production remained in the background. Now, social security pensions and salaries have an 80 percent share of budget expenditures, and its population is aging."
New Ro-Ro lines on the agenda
The annual trade volume in Aegean ports exceeds $90 billion. Joint projects are being planned regarding roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) lines that will reach from the Aegean Sea to Greece. Increasing the capacity of the Ipsala border gate will make a major contribution to trade. These projects will lend impetus to foreign trade between the two countries. Experts say that the logistics sector will be an important economic instrument for Greece's recovery and Greece's work with Turkey will contribute to the country's development. In this case, trade will be carried out with some of Europe's trade traffic passing through Greece and reaching Italy by Ro-Ro ships through the Adriatic Sea.