LAHORE: Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Yurdakal has said that friendly and cordial relations with Pakistan should translate into trade and economic ties.
Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), the Turkish envoy agreed that the volume of bilateral trade between both countries, which currently stands at $497 million, has room to increase.
He said that negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries are under way and trade will jump once it is finalised. Pakistan, especially Lahore, is an investment hub for Turkish investors, he added.
LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan’s exports to Turkey are constantly decreasing since 2011 when they stood at $756 million. In 2016, the value of total exports plunged to $237 million.
As far as imports from Turkey are concerned, the amount has gone up from $160 million to $260 million in five years. Javaid said the FTA can potentially help Pakistan in increasing the bilateral trade to $4 billion. In order to achieve this objective, elimination of tariffs along with concerns regarding non-tariff barriers need to be addressed.
He said the Turkish ambassador can play an important role in encouraging firms to invest in Pakistan. Presently, the volume of Turkish investment in Pakistan stands at $900 million. Turkey is well positioned to take advantage of Pakistan’s economic potential and its geo-strategic location, he added.
Another topic under discussion was to work on a train service from Istanbul to Lahore.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2018.