Turkey and the Czech Republic vowed to further improve investment and trade relations between them, expressing their will to strengthen cooperation in multiple areas in the period ahead.
"Nearly $600 million of investment has been made from the Czech Republic to Turkey so far. We want these investments to continue increasing," said Turkey's Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan.
Pekcan's remarks came during a working lunch attended by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and the Czech Republic's Trade and Industry Minister Karel Havlicek at Union of Chambers and Commodity Exhanges of Turkey (TOBB) headquarters in the capital Ankara.
In her speech, Pekcan said close and constructive contacts between the two countries and cooperation has been continuing at various levels for a long time, noting that bilateral ties will keep on strengthening.
The delegations of the two countries held a meeting prior to the working lunch, during which, the minister said, the increase and diversification of bilateral trade volume was discussed.
Pekcan emphasized that the Czech Republic, just like Turkey, has focused on manufacturing of high value-added and high-tech products.
"We would be happy to see mutual Turkish and Czech investment projects in our free-trade zones," she added.
Free-trade zones are areas with special regulatory treatment for businessmen and investors that aim at promoting export-oriented investment and production, accelerating foreign direct investment and technology access.
Pekcan stressed that obstacles ahead of trade should be lifted for increase in trade volume between the two countries, noting that they discussed multiple issues, from the steel quota applied to Turkey to an update of the customs union.
For his part, Czech Prime Minister Babis said highlighted that there were promising areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Neither of the two countries is happy with the current trade volume, Babis said, adding that 87% of goods produced in the Czech Republic are being exported to the EU, however, stressing that the government is encouraging entrepreneurs to open to new markets.
He also noted that the Czech Republic has a long-term investment plan, adding that they want to complete the highway network and invest in high-speed trains.
"I'm sure we can cooperate on these issues," he stressed.
Also speaking at the meeting, TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu highlighted they want to further expand trade relations with the Czech Republic.
"I believe we can make more trade and investment with the Czech Republic in the coming period. We can easily bring the current $3.7 billion trade volume up to $5 billion. For the increase of Czech investments in Turkey, we invite Czech firms to our country," he said.
On the other hand, the Czech Republic's Trade and Industry Minister Havlicek praised the development Turkey has experienced in industry and in the area of innovative economy in the last 10 years, saying the two countries will continue their cooperation.
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