Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said yesterday that the friendship between Paraguay and Turkey should improve by reflecting mutual economic and commercial relations.
"Indeed, our current trade volume certainly does not reflect the potential of the two countries," she said during her speech at the Turkey-Paraguay Business Forum hosted by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Istanbul.
Pekcan stressed that although they may seem to be very distant from each other geographically, trade and economic relations between the two countries are open to development and have great potential.
Pekcan stated that they share common goals and view relations from the same perspective with her Paraguayan counterpart, Liz Cramer, underlining that they both saw the opportunities that will arise from cooperation and decided to work on this issue.
"Indeed, our current trade volume certainly does not reflect the potential of the two countries. Some 80% of this trade consists of iron, steel and soy," Pekcan said. "In her presentation, my counterpart talked about the potential sectors. Before the meeting, I presented a file on what Paraguay imports from abroad, and how much we export which products. I am sure they will work on that file themselves, and we will work on the minister's presentations, collaborating with our business community on the diversification and deepening of our products and trade. This business forum is the first step we will take together, but after that, it falls into our business world. We, as two states, are determined to support the business world."
Referring to Turkey's perspective on Latin America, Minister Pekcan said Turkey is the most dynamic country of the European region, Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus, as well as the Middle East.
"We want to show our dynamism by taking part in all global markets," Pekcan said. "Paraguay is also in the heart of Latin America, right in the middle of our target markets. We have similar cultures. In this respect, although geographically distant, this cultural similarity brings us closer to each other. We can see this from the fact that Turkish TV series are watched a lot in Latin America. I have no doubt that we will reflect our cultural partnerships in the commercial sphere as well."
Pekcan recalled that Turkey, which has an embassy in almost all of South America and commercial counselor offices in eight countries, also holds economic cooperation and free trade agreements in many countries in Latin America.
Emphasizing that Turkish contractors came forward with their quality and timely delivery worldwide, Pekcan said they undertook 25 projects worth $975 million in Latin America alone. "We have no such experience in Paraguay yet. Hopefully, Turkish companies can take part in these projects with Paraguayan companies. They can even do business with other Latin American countries in third countries," she concluded.