Turkey pledged its commitment to gradually enhancing commercial relations with one of its top trade partners, Russia, as the two nations look to reach their trade volume target, according to Trade Minister Mehmet Muş.
“We want to develop trade with Russia in a balanced way on a win-win basis,” Muş said following his visit to Moscow last week, stressing Turkey's determination to bring the volume of commercial exchange to $100 billion (TL 845.4 billion), a goal set by the leaders of the two states.
“We have serious cooperation in the field of energy. We want to expand and shift our cooperation there to different areas of energy,” Muş told Anadolu Agency (AA) Sunday.
Accompanied by a delegation of business officials, Muş last week attended KazanSummit 2021 in Tatarstan, Russia, after which he flew to Moscow to participate in the 17th Turkey-Russia Intergovernmental Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting.
The minister held bilateral discussions with government officials of both nations.
Praising the talks in Moscow, Muş said: “The meetings here went very well. We also signed the (JEC) memorandum of understanding.”
The protocol was aimed at furthering cooperation in industry, agriculture, energy and tourism.
In a long-awaited and encouraging development for the Turkish tourism industry, Russian tourists began arriving in the country last month after Moscow lifted its two-month suspension of flights over a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Russians accounted for more than 13% of the total number of tourists who arrived in Turkey in the first half of the year, with 746,724 visiting the country. Nearly 5.8 million foreign nationals visited the country in the first half of the year, according to official data.
Muş also noted that they have managed to solve some of the issues that Moscow was wanted to be resolved, without giving further information.
“There are other issues that need to be resolved. But the steps we take here are steps that will contribute to the development of our trade,” the minister said.
Highlighting the $100 billion trade goal set by the two countries, Muş reiterated Ankara’s will that the trade relationship be balanced.
Officials expect the bilateral trade volume to reach around $30 billion throughout 2021.
“This actually suggests that $100 billion in bilateral trade is a catch-all target,” Muş said.
“We agree with the Russian side to increase our trade in a mutually balanced way to $100 billion. They also want to achieve this goal. We want this trade to grow in a balanced way.”
Clouded by the coronavirus pandemic, the bilateral trade dropped 17% in 2020. Turkey's exports to Russia came in at $4.4 billion and its imports at $17.8 billion.
Exports from January through June surged 35% year-on-year, while imports were up 44%, said Muş.
"Figures in the first six months show us that by the end of this year we will reach a trade volume exceeding $30 billion."
Referring to Russia’s recent efforts in production, Muş said “it is a country rich in energy and natural resources, but it also wants to diversify its industry.”
“As Turkey, we can actually be here. So, I think we have the ability to increase our trade volume here, the basis of production. We have held fruitful meetings in Moscow, and I think we will see the reflection of this in the coming days, weeks and years.”