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Erdogan makes a pitch for India-Turkey FTA, Modi invites Turkish investors

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today pitched free trade agreement (FTA) with India as a starting point to expand the ambit of bilateral economic ties.
India TV Business Desk New Delhi May 01, 2017 19:23 IST
India TV Business Desk

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today pitched free trade agreement with India as a starting point to expand the ambit of bilateral economic ties. 

Erdogan, who was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan today, said the two countries should also explore the possibility of trade in local currency to deal with exchange rate fluctuations. 

Addressing the India-Turkey Business Summit in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said the relationship between the two is based on friendship. 

"We should increase our business and economic relationship...if we can also start the comprehensive economic relations negotiation that would be great...It would be also good to start free-trade agreement talks. This would also add further momentum to our relations," he said. 

The visiting president further said the Turkish-India business council should be a more active mechanism. "It would be also good to start free trade agreement (FTA) talks. This would also add further momentum to our relations," he said. 

He, however, noted that the bilateral trade volume is skewed against Turkey and underlined the need for balancing it. Of the total USD 6.5 billion trade, Turkey's export was only about USD 650 million. 

He also called upon Indian businessmen to increase investments in Turkey stressing that his country was "ideal place for investment and production". 

"The trade volume should be balanced as fast as possible. Steps should be taken to achieve that...," the president added. 

Turkish companies have pumped in about USD 212 million whereas Indian investment in Turkey reads nearly USD 100 million. 

Erdogan termed Turkey as "an ideal hub" for investment and production, given its geographic location, and invited Indian companies to put in capital. 

The businessmen of the two countries, he suggested, can also join hands to explore investment opportunities in third countries. 

Projecting his country as an ideal tourist destination, the president said Indian families are increasingly organising wedding ceremonies in Turkey in recent times. 

"Therefore, we would like to host more Indian tourists in Turkey... you can come to Turkey for honeymoon. We would like to host you in Turkey," Erdogan added. 

He also stressed on further developing collaboration between Turkish Airline and Air India. 

Modi hard sells India as investment destination to Turkey 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Turkish businesses to invest in sectors like energy, rail, road, ports and housing, saying India was never a better investment destination than it is now. 

Addressing business leaders present at the India-Turkey Business Summit, Modi stressed the need for a substantial increase in the economic engagement between the two countries. 

The prime minister said although the bilateral trade between India and Turkey has gone up to USD 6.4 billion in 2016 from 2.8 billion in 2008, it is still far behind the real potential. 

"India and Turkey enjoy good economic ties... While this (trade growth) is encouraging, the level of present economic and commercial relation is not enough against the real potential," Modi said. 

Observing that India and Turkey, which are among the top 20 economies of the world with strong fundamentals, can substantially increase bilateral cooperation in several areas, the Indian prime minister said, "The time has come to make aggressive effort to deepen relationship and enhance bilateral engagement." 

Promising a business friendly environment, Modi said the Turkish construction companies can participate in India's infrastructure sector development, especially in sectors like ports, rail, housing, energy, hydrocarbon, tourism, textiles and auto. 

Modi also highlighted India's low-cost manufacturing capabilities before the Turkish businessmen while seeking investment. 

The businessmen of the two countries, he said, could also join hand to explore investment opportunities in third 
countries. 

(With PTI inputs)