Following the signing of an economic cooperation agreement between the European Union and Japan that took effect on Feb. 1, Ankara and Tokyo have ramped up efforts to ink a free trade agreement to ensure a balanced development of bilateral trade.
"We are particularly working on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan and these steps have intensified over the recent period," Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said Friday.
Speaking of the G20 Trade and Digital Economy Ministerial meeting held in Tsukuba, Japan, the minister said they attended important sessions within the scope of the meetings and held productive discussions, noting that Turkey is sided with sustainable, inclusive, rule-based, fair and free trade. Pekcan emphasized that she carried out very productive meeting with Japan's Economy and Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko. The bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached around $4.6 billion, according to Pekcan, who said despite an upward trend in the relations in the recent period, there is a disparity in the bilateral trade. According to the data compiled from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), Turkey's exports to Japan totaled $479.4 million last year while its imports came at $4.1 billion, which points out the huge gap between the bilateral trade.
In the period of January to April this year, the unbalance in the bilateral trade volume has been sustained. Turkey's purchases of Japanese products were calculated at around $1.3 billion while its sales to the far eastern country only totaled $190.3 million, the TurkStat data showed. Minister Pekcan highlighted that Turkey supports the idea of a sustainable, inclusive, rule-based and fair free trade. As part of her G2
0 agenda, the trade minister also met Canada's Minister of Trade Diversification Jim Carr and signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the Joint Economic and Trade Cooperation Committee (JETCO). "This agreement will become a significant platform for the business world. We continue to increase bilateral trade and investments with Canada," Pekcan said. Minister Pekcan also met South Korean counterpart Yoo Myunghee and discussed a road map to ensure a more balanced trade volume. The two ministers will hold meetings again in the fall.