PM's visit to Singapore, Vietnam to boost ties as Turkey expands in Asia

Published 20.08.2017 21:56
Updated 21.08.2017 11:13

As Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım landed in Singapore in early afternoon hours Sunday he is preparing to pay official visits to the country along with Vietnam, the two major emerging economies in the Far East. The prime minister will hold bilateral meetings and business forums in an effort to boost ties with the two countries and he is expected to invite fund managers and businessmen to invest in Turkey. While Turkey continues to expand in Asia, the prime minister's visit to the two countries will strengthen relations in a period when Ankara is concentrated on foreign policy in Asia. Prime Minister Yıldırım, along with an entourage consisting of a delegation of businessmen, will stay in Singapore today and tomorrow before traveling to Vietnam Aug. 22-24.

Prime Minister is being accompanied by ministers and business figures to attend business forums organized by Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy.

Yıldırım's agenda mainly consists of issues related to the economy. He will meet his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng and is expected to invite Singaporean fund managers and businessmen during the business forum to invest in Turkey.

While Turkey's total exports to Vietnam and Singapore in the first half of this year amounted to about $540 million, imports from the same countries stood at $1.3 billion in the same period. The visit is aimed at strengthening economic relations between Turkey and the two countries.

The prime minister's visit to Singapore comes to the fore as it coincides with the completion of the domestic ratification process of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that was signed with Singapore in 2015. It is the most comprehensive agreement of its kind for Turkey.

Bilateral trade balance leans in Turkey's favor

Considering foreign trade figures between Turkey and Singapore, the balance has seemed to be leaning in Turkey's favor over the last 10 years. Turkey exported approximately $420 million in goods to Singapore last year, while its imports from the country stood at around $365 million in the same year.

Also, Turkey's exports to Singapore amounted to about $5 billion from 2007 to 2016, while its imports from the country reached $2.9 billion in the same period. In addition, within the framework of visits to Singapore and Vietnam, business forums will be held with the participation of Prime Minister Yıldırım.

Singapore and Vietnam are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Turkey is a sectoral dialogue partner. Yıldırım's visits to Singapore and Vietnam, two of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies in South Asia, will help strengthen bilateral relations and trilateral cooperation on multilateral platforms.

Turkey's exports to Vietnam and Singapore reached about $540 million in the first half of the year, while imports from the two countries amounted to $1.3 billion dollars.

Within the scope of his visit to Vietnam, Yıldırım will meet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly President Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. This visit is of special importance as it is Turkey's first visit to Vietnam at the prime ministerial level since 1978, when diplomatic relations between the two countries were established.

The bilateral relations between Turkey and Vietnam are progressing in every area, especially regarding economy and trade. Six Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meetings have been held between the two countries so far. A total of 166 Turkish nationals live in Vietnam, while 446 Vietnamese citizens live in Turkey.

Trade volume with Vietnam reaches $1.9B

Foreign trade volume between Turkey and Vietnam reached $1.9 billion last year. Turkey exported about $235 million in goods to Vietnam in 2016, while its imports from the country amounted to $1.73 billion.

Also, Turkey's exports to the country stood at $1.4 billion and imports from it reached $11.3 billion during the 2007-2016 period.

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