Muscat: Turkey and Oman are making significant efforts to enhance bilateral trade, joint ventures and investments in a move to increase trade.
Speaking at a press briefing about Turkish companies participating at Big Show 2013, Kerem A. Kirath, ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, asserted that bilateral trade between the two countries in 2012 stood at OMR120 million, compared to OMR100 million in 2011. Of total trade in 2012, Turkish exports to Oman were valued at OMR100 million."
On the investment side, Kerem A. Kirath said, "The quantum of commercial engagement is not reflective of the potential, especially since both Oman and Turkey have shown significant growth. We need to increase investments in each other's country through joint ventures to enhance economic cooperation and also to diversify each other's economy.
Oman received investments worth approximately $8 billion, so far, from Turkey. Most of the Turkish investments are in the contracting business. But Omani companies have invested just $10 million in Turkey in businesses such as quarries, real estate and trading."
Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as a block, are engaged in negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA). Kerem A. Kirath observed, "When the FTA is inked, we believe that there will be a significant rise in bilateral trade between Turkey and all GCC countries. From our side, we are all geared up to sign the FTA, but are awaiting signals from the GCC to finalise the deal."
Big Show 2013
Kerem A. Kirath said twenty top companies from Turkey would participate in Big Show 2013, which begins Sunday.
Elaborating on Turkey's foreign trade worldwide, the ambassador noted, "In the last decade when Turkey enjoyed outstanding economic performance, our exports almost quadrupled, exceeding $152 billion in 2012. In 2012, total exports were $152.5 billion, while imports were $236.5 billion. The last year, as compared with the previous year, exports increased by 13 per cent while imports declined by 1.8 per cent. The trade deficit has been reduced to $84 billion."
He added, "Top export destinations were Germany, Iraq, Iran, the UK and the UAE. Turkey's top import partners were Russia, Germany, China, USA and Italy. Thanks largely to the EU-Turkey Customs Union, Turkey's main trade partners are EU members. The EU's share in Turkey's trade varies slightly from year to year, depending on numerous factors, including commodity price trends and exchange rate movements. All in all, almost half of Turkey's total trade has been with the EU for several years."
He further said, "In line with global trends, the machinery and vehicles industry has become the top export sectors in Turkey. We are expecting that the trend of increasing shares of technological products will be underway for the years ahead. In this regard, raising the share of machinery, electronics and automotive sectors in exports is perceived as a priority. As a result of the efforts put forth so far, total exports of motor vehicles and machinery exports have reached $15.1 billion and $21.4 billion, respectively, in 2012."
Regarding Oman, he said, "As for our bilateral trade relations with the Sultanate of Oman, the two countries enjoy growing relations in the field of project partnership. Some of the largest Turkish companies are currently developing or have already completed projects throughout the Sultanate. Over the past four decades, Turkish companies have undertaken more than six thousand projects all over the world. I can say that the cooperation in this field between the two brotherly countries is at an initial phase, but this country has already started to have a feel of the quality and the competitiveness of the Turkish companies' services."
Kirath added, "One need not look only at what we have achieved so far, but rather what potential lies ahead for the flow of trade, investments and services both ways. I can say that most of the legal framework has been completed by the governments. The only thing that we need to work on more is the conclusion of a free trade agreement between Turkey and the countries in the GCC. I believe that the FTA would contribute significantly to the volume of trade and investments."
He further added, "With regard to BIG Show 2013, we have twenty companies participating this year. They represent various sectors of the construction business. Construction has been a major pillar of the Turkish economy and Turkey is one of the leaders in the manufacture of several products, including, but not limited to, building bars, steel products, cement, electrical apparatus and many other products and services of interest to both the construction companies and design and architecture firms."