Germany Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier will visit Turkey with a large delegation of German businesspeople this week. The visit on Oct. 24 is expected to contribute to the continuation of deep-rooted economic, commercial and friendly relations between Germany and Turkey.
During Altmaier's two-day visit to Turkey, the first round of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) is to be organized and energy and investment forums will be held with German and Turkish businesspeople.
In his recent visit to Germany in late September, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed with German officials that century-old economic, commercial and friendly relations between the two countries would continue to grow.
As the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy prepares for their visit to Turkey, it is also noteworthy that the top executives of 35 German international companies operating in Turkey such as Siemens, SAP and EON will also take part in the visit. Altmaier is also expected to meet with representatives of German foundations operating in the country.
Pointing to the deep-rooted relations between Germany and Turkey, German officials stressed that Turkey is the only Islamic country that has a reasonable relationship with Israel.
Officials also recalled that there are 7,500 German companies operating in Turkey, highlighting that the two countries have taken steps to leave behind past disagreements.
Since 3.5 million Turkish people live in Germany, the country's authorities closely follow developments in the country and have avoided discussing controversial issues in public recently. The authorities said that discussing such debates or differences of opinion in public does do no good and that it is preferable to avoid misunderstandings.
In reference to the economic process in Turkey in recent months, German authorities emphasized the importance of the Turkish economy for European countries.
The German minister's visit will also signal the importance of Turkey's stability, German officials underlined and added that there will be cooperation on economic reforms in Turkey. Officials also suggested that Turkey's competitive tourist infrastructure allows German tourists to choose to visit the country, adding German investors maintain their interest in Turkey due to its young population and proximity to other markets.
Bilateral trade between Turkey and Germany in 2016 was $35 billion. Turkey's exports to Germany amounted to $13.9 billion, while imports were $21.4 billion. Bilateral trade between the countries increased, reaching $36.4 billion in 2017, according to data compiled by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Last year, Turkish exports to Germany rose to $15.1 billion and imports from Germany slightly fell to $21.3 billion.
For the period running from 2002 to April 2018, direct investments from Germany to Turkey amounted to $9.2 billion.
Officials said updating the Customs Union with the European Union should not be considered as a single decision by Germany. "It should be discussed and decided within the European Union. At the moment, negotiations, visa liberalization and the Customs Union are not going anywhere. If the conditions are met, there may be a twitch," German officials added.
As the only non-EU member country that has had a customs union agreement with the EU since 1996, Turkey has been one of the largest trade partners of the union with an export value of 69.8 billion euros and an import value of 84.5 billion euros in 2017 in goods alone.
In its Dec. 21, 2016 assessment, the European Commission (EC) proposed a modernization of the current deal, which only covers a limited range of industrial products, and excludes agriculture, public procurement and services. Highlighting that the upgrade of Turkey-EU trade relations forms an essential part of efforts made by Turkey and the EU to deepen relations in key areas of common interest, the EC reiterated its resolution to continue delivering on the commitments it has made as part of the deal with Ankara.
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