Ankara and Beijing set to strengthen trade ties

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 13.11.2015 22:24
Updated 13.11.2015 22:25

During President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Beijing in July, Erdoğan and his counterpart Xi Jinping signed several trade and investment agreements, including a memorandum of understanding to establish a deputy prime minister-level cooperation committee, and a development plan to mutually encourage and protect investment between the two nations.

The two sides are set to follow up on existing deals and sign new ones during the Group 20 (G20) Summit in Antalya on Nov. 15-16. The two sides had reached a deal to facilitate investments in 10 separate infrastructure projects worth $40 billion, and China had agreed to provide a 25-year repayment program with no interest for the first seven years. One of them was the agreement to mutually promote and protect investments between Turkey and China. The second one was the economic and trade cooperation, and the medium-term development plan. The third and most important one was the understanding agreement reached to form a cooperation mechanism at the prime minister level. The related ministries of both countries plan to work together in areas of education, health, information technology and technology.

One of the 10 projects on cooperation Erdoğan found particularly important involves Turkey's railway network. He said the two sides were in discussion on the building of important sections of the railway network, which would be part of the railway line linking Beijing to London. The Chinese were interested in being involved in several railway projects in Turkey. Erdoğan said the health, nuclear energy and automotive sectors also offer a good avenue for joint initiatives.

The most important cooperative effort is the construction of the Kars-Edirne railroad, which is currently being discussed, and China seems to be willing to take part in. If the construction of the 2,000-kilometer long railroad is carried out by China and Turkey, and the presence of Marmaray - the undersea train line in Istanbul's Bosporus - would enable the establishment of a Beijing-London line. This would be historic. There are also 8 different railroad projects in Turkey excluding the Antalya-İzmir railroad, and China is a pretender to all those projects and the details are being discussed. China also wants to build the third nuclear power station in the energy sector, with or without U.S. assistance. The agreement signed between Huawei and Turkcell is an example of the growing cooperation between Turkish and Chinese firms. Turkey and China had also set an ambitious target for a threefold growth in trading volume between their countries, from the current $24 billion to $100 billion.

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