Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis yesterday encouraged Turkish companies to increase their investment in his country especially in the construction sector.
Speaking to the Turkey-Czechia Business Forum in Istanbul organized by Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), Babis invited Turkish construction companies to help improve the Czech Republic's motorways network.
For his part, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said the Czech Republic will implement major projects in the construction services area, calling for Turkish contractors to closely follow projects in the Czech Republic.
The minister emphasized that Turkey wants to benefit from the Czech Republic's experience in certain areas and wants to implement mutual projects.
"We can develop new cooperation between R&D [research and development] and design centers and technoparks in our countries," Varank noted.
Babis also emphasized that Czech companies are very active and dynamic in the energy sector. "There are many business opportunities in mining, the automotive, defense, and food industries, smart cities and informatics. New opportunities and initiatives are possible in many fields such as defense. Establishing quality cooperation is very important for us. I would like to see more Turkish companies in Czechia [the Czech Republic]," he said.
On the other hand, Varank underscored that bilateral ties between the two countries have covered a major ground over the recent years.
"Bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the Czech Republic quintupled from 2003 to 2018 to reach $3.65 billion last year. Our bilateral trade volume was $633 million in 2003," Varank said. He added they were aiming for a $5 billion target. In 2018 for the first time, Turkey's exports to the Czech Republic amounted to almost $1 billion with a 10% increase, he said. Noting the advantages, including support and incentives, Turkey offers, Varank called on Czech investors to invest in Turkey. There are 81 Czech companies in Turkey who have made investments worth $623 million, the minister underscored, Varank said.
‘VW MAKING BIG
INVESTMENT IN TURKEY'
In the meantime, during a news conference after a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday, Babis said German carmaker Volkswagen is making a big investment in Turkey.
"We have heard that Volkswagen is making a big investment in Turkey," Babis said. Reuters reported last week that Volkswagen was holding talks with officials in Ankara over Turkey's vehicle tax regime as it seeks to conclude a 1 billion euro agreement to build a production plant in Turkey.
The company said earlier that no final decision had been reached on the location of a new multi-brand plant, but sources familiar with the talks said Volkswagen is positive about investing in Turkey and was close to taking the step.
Volkswagen had also been looking at the new production plant in Bulgaria, but the sources said it was now close to finalizing the deal with Turkey. "The Czech Republic is an important manufacturer of car parts... We are in a lead position on this issue and would certainly like to cooperate," Babis added in comments that were broadcast live on Turkish television.