Qatar, one of the first countries to support Turkey against the July 15 failed coup attempt by the Gulenist Terror Group (FETÖ), has started new economic relations with Turkey. While the process for the enforcement of the preferential trade agreement between the Islamic countries gains momentum, Turkey agreed to engage in strategic cooperation in seven sectors with Qatar by signing a cooperation agreement.
Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu gave a speech at the 2nd SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) Conference, which was jointly held by TOBB and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Stating that Turkey is closely following the 2030 National Vision of Qatar, Hisarcıklıoğlu said: "Let's unite our forces. We have the experience and power of entrepreneurship. Qatar has tremendous capital and cheap energy. You have money, and we have entrepreneurial spirit. Let's combine them together with some solid projects. Let us come with our experience in industry and production experience, and let us make the world recognize the 'Made in Qatar' brand and Turkey-Qatar cooperation.
Hisarcıklıoğlu underlined that it is very important to accomplish the Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and said: "We have been looking forward to this for a very long time. If we take this step, it will be a milestone to strengthen trade between Turkey and Qatar. Our trade will advance to the next level. We also need to realize the Framework Agreement on Trade Preferential System among the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (TPS-OIC). Cooperation will be active if the Gulf countries update their list of concessions. We are expecting that our Qatari friends take the lead on this issue."
Recalling that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Qatar was $15 million 15 years ago, the TOBB chair added: Fifteen years ago, Qatari investments in our country were only $1 million. Now the amount of investment by Qatar is around $1 billion. Moreover, 15 years ago, Turkish companies were barely known in Qatar; now our companies have undertaken $14 billion worth of projects in Qatar. Our businessmen have started to make important investments. We are going to open a Turkish hospital."
"SMEs' contribution to the economy is important," said Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim Al Thani. He added: "We are open for every initiative. SMEs should be active in different sectors. We can see the mentioned projects in our 2030 vision. I believe that we will present our projects under the horizon of mutual benefit. You can always get results with cooperation."