Arab and Turkish ministers of trade, economy and investment agreed Monday on the need to expedite implementation of programs aimed at deepening commercial exchanges and economic cooperation between the two sides. The ministers agreed on the need to form a specialized joint workgroup tasked with exploring investment opportunities and streamlining investment procedures, the ministers said in a joint statement. The statement was issued at the conclusion of the second meeting of the ministers of economy, trade and investment from Turkey and Arab League member states. Earlier Monday, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said the trade volume between Turkey and the Arab states had reached $53 billion as of the end of 2014, adding that he expected this figure to reach some $70 billion by the first quarter of 2017.
The Turkish side also urged Arab countries who are not currently members of the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) to join the scientific body, noting that the ministers' agreement encouraged participation in SMIIC activities under the auspices of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Ministers also called for improving the investment environment in both Turkey and the Arab states, exchanging expertise and removing obstacles to investment. They also agreed to boost cooperation in the services and construction sectors, stressing the importance of Turkish-Arab cooperation in these fields. Earlier Monday, Zeybekci said that Arab foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey had reached $11.1 billion in 2014. Zeybekci invited Arab investors to Turkey to further make investments together with Turkish investors in third countries, and said that any collaboration would be a win-win model.